Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year

As the year 2007 ends, I suppose I am ready for a new year. New opportunities, new challenges, new cats (the last one isn't very reflective, but a new meowzer is in order...). Should I be contemplative? Was it a bad year?

For me, it was an irritating year. There was Social Security chasing me, the ulcerative colitis, and losing my job. But these are receding, as I think I am at a satisfactory conclusion with the government, the medicine has corrected the UC, and I did not care for the company that employed me at any rate. These things aren't terrible, merely annoying.

Tougher things happen to others. Take Patti's mom: the fire and now her fractured hip. Those things are bad. yet her mom has remained positive, slightly tempered now by her very sore hip. Yet all things have to be placed in the correct perspective.

We are here, and I am surrounded by a great family in good health. With this, everything else is managable. We have the opportunity to fight the fight each day, and not feel alone. Life has been and continues to be very good for me. And it's not just the family, the bloggosphere has given me many more friends and acquaintances this past year. I didn't blog until 2007, so this has been a nice year for me for that alone.

New Year's is somewhat of an artificial holiday. I mean, why wait until the new year to make changes you feel are needed? That can be done at any time. And really, many times New Year's Day feels pretty much like December 32nd. For us, I made a large pot of turkey chili, which will be used in part to make delicious nachos with lots of gooey cheese and sour cream (regular strength, not low-fat). It will be the four of us at home...who needs a holiday to enjoy chili nachos? Happy New Year to my blogging friends!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Birthday Belles

It's a bit early, but I offer a Happy Birthday to my favorite ladies, that of course being Patti and Kid1. Their birthday is on Saturday, Kid1 will be 19. That's all I'm going to say about ages now.

It is nice that they share the same birthday, December 29. Kid1, who a few years ago had the ready response "in a minute" was true to form, and arrived a week late at 6:52 AM. She was the best birthday gift a mom could receive.

And to Patti, happy birthday to a lovely person and mom extraordinaire.

Celebrations for another birthday are in order. I haven't figured where we're going, but wherever, we celebrate the birth of two fine ladies.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

It's a wrap

I don't know if it is a guy thing or not, but I cannot wrap a present. Well, not well at least.
I understand "it's the thought that counts", but merely wishing for a more artistic style in my gift wrapping finesse won't make the corners neat.

This is the first attempt at the wrap of the lovely Patti's Joyeux Noel. The corners, and general flatness, are lacking. It's probably too late to do so, but I should thank the person who invented the ever useful package mending item also known as 3M Scotch Tape®. I used to think that only duct tape was the most wonderful fix-it stuff, but that would be overkill for Christmas presents.

The second try was not stylish, either. I guess the second wasn't the charm. Or is that supposed to be the third time? I wouldn't want anyone else to do this for me. Substance over style I say...

I always enjoy this time of the year. Christmas and the entire holiday season is the best. I know that when you're a kid you like to receive, but I always enjoyed the giving part. I enjoyed it even more starting with Patti during our first together in 1985. And it got better with our kid's first Christmases in 1989 and 1990. The kids love to receive, and we have joy in our hearts in giving to them. In fact, both kids do not mind being in the Christmas card even at their ages. We all love the time. I submit to our readers our 2006 card, taken in Hyannis that summer. I so enjoy the blogosphere, and enjoy the friends and acquaintances I've made. The following wish I send is for all (no PC here, not everybody celebrates Christmas), is for you all to have a wonderful holiday. Of course, there is no correct season for blogging...all year will do!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Math is not my strongest subject

I was tagged by Patti who was tagged by Linda with this modified meme, which originated with Debbie. As you may guess, I share many similarities with my mate (see an earlier post). Awaaaaaaaay we go:
8÷ 2 things I’m passionate about:
- Family & Friends
- Loyalty
- Blogging
- Loyalty (again)
8 ÷ 2 things I say often:
- Let’s get a cat or two.
- What do you want for dinner?
- Can I use the computer?
- Did I get any comments?
8 ÷ 2 books I’ve read recently:Not much of a book reader, but periodicals I do, so here is that 8 ÷ 2:
- Wall Street Journal
- Road & Track
- Business Week
- Hemmings Classic Car

8 ÷ 2 things I want to do before I die:
- Travel to Paris in my wheelchair
- Find a real career that I will enjoy
- Read more books
- Convince the naysayers that my mind isn’t affected by my physical disability

8 ÷ 2 songs I can listen to over and over again, and probably have:
This is a tough one as there are plenty, but as of now…
- Satin Doll by Duke Ellington
- New York State of Mind by Billy Joel
- I Second That Emotion by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles
- The Way You Look Tonight by Frank Sinatra
8 ÷ 2 things that attract me to my friends:
- Accepting of me as I am
- A sense of humor
- Honesty
- Ability to respect my views as I do yours

8 ÷ 2 things I learned in the last year
(or a reaffirmation of what I have already learned):
- How to blog
- Letting your college age kids grow even though you miss them
- Jobs that you lose weren’t necessarily good anyhow
- I do like cats
I would like to tag anybody who will enjoy this meme...

Winter Blues

It really does not snow that much in CT, actually the annoying snow or sleet for an inch or two, which makes the roads slippery. Of course, the state and local authorities mix sand with the snow melt stuff, so your vehicles look dirty. If you want snow, here is a tip: Take your vehicle to the car wash and make it look pretty. It will snow the next day, and they will put sand on the road and your car is filthy again...I am attaching pictures of the infamous blizzard of Feb. 5-7, 1978. Thirty inches in East Hartford, Check our driveway and we kids all shoveled Les Alps along the driveway. The rescued vehicle is an AMC Hornet (remember those clunkers?). The only redeeming feature here is the sky, which is never bluer or more beautiful than the day after the snow stopped. The gorgeous sky is the only reward you will receive after this much snow...

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The spirit of Christmas past...

Christmas is for giving, and it is still my favorite time of the year. As a parent, it is more fun to give than receive (the reverse of the child's view). I offer the joy of receiving Christmas 1993. That was the first year we put up a full size tree (Kid2 just turned 3). And what great presents: Snow White, Goofy, Snow White's dwarfs, a bowling set, a teddy bear and a Radio Flyer wagon. And both urchins enjoyed themselves, as did mom and dad...

We have a flatbed scanner from about 1999, and it is handy to have for remembrances of Christmas past. This is 1965, when I was in fifth grade. This is all seven of us (sorry Michele, whoever took the picture just cut you out). When we were small, mom always made certain that the girls would have matching nightgowns and the boys would be color coordinated as well! I remember that one because I was awakened when I heard a common expletive from both Santa Ralph's (dad & grandpa)...Santa had problems assembling the gift, which was a slot car racing set fully assembled. The best gift!

This is Christmas Eve 1975, when I was home from college in that magical burg known as Steubenville (well, not that magical). All seven kids are here, along with an in-law and a niece and nephew. In fact, the blondie wearing the white hat is the mom of the preemie Adam, aka Chunkino, who is doing very well now. A joyous holiday this year.

Finally, I offer the man who liked a very shiny tree, and you have heard of this gentleman, of course Mr. PO Box 1, Grandpa. He liked a big tree and he liked a lot of tinsel. In fact, when he visited us he reserved the right to add the tinsel to the tree. That was his prerogative as the grand patriarch. The picture to the right includes Grandpa, Grandma and Aunt Terry, and I would guess was taken in 1959 or 1960. The live tree nudges the ceiling, is broad and has lots of lights and copious amounts of tinsel. Nice memories.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Winter is for the birds (or kids)

Today is a snow day, although it is only a flurry of frozen precip so far. We were told 6-10" by 10:00 tonight, although it has been about two inches of a snow/sleet (sneet?) so far. Maybe it is as I age that winter is just not as agreeable to me.

Or maybe it is the use of the wheelchair that limits how far I can travel in the snow in my wheelchair, not more than 1". The most fun times in the winter is for the kids.

It is good for play, as we have a hill in the back yard which is good for sledding -------->

<-----Of course, all play and no work can make for a dull day, so time for Kid2 to pull out the Toro and clear a path to the road. No gain, no pain.

So, somebody has to have fun during this season, so we'll leave to the children to have the real winter fun, and leave us adults to the less pleasurable winter items such as skidding on the road and paying the higher winter utilities...

We did purchase a new Christmas Tree (not 'holiday tree', no sir) at Target on Sunday, but have not unfolded it yet, but did purchase LED tree lights, which are supposed to offset their much higher purchase costs with 82% lower electricity costs - our only contribution to the very secular 'Green Christmas'. Sigh, I used to consider the only green at
this time of the year the tree...but these LED lights are much brighter!

And so amidst the frozen moisture outside now (back to normal snow), I offer a glimpse into the summer of '92 or '93 and our blonde young'ins, Kid1 and Kid2. It looks warmer than today. Kid1 will be back for the college break next Wednesday. Santa had better get busy, I think...

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The egel has landed

From Queen Mimi, the lovely purveyor of the castle at Bloggingham, I received the Egel's Nest Award. The original source for this award noted that this is given for blog eggsellence. To Mimi, I appreciate your recognition. Moreover, if I may, Mimi, you will look positively elegant in that purple gown…it is definitely not a pencil dress!

Yet, Mimi noted that she was passing this on to me as a “…wonderful peace blogger”. Peace, of course, is the ideal, the dream, the ultimate. But how do you define the word ‘peace’? The first Merriam-Webster definition of the word Peace is: ‘A state of tranquility or quiet’. I like this one in particular. Why is that? For myself, I am at peace, as I live my life: I am married to the wonderful Patti, and have wonderful Kid1 and Kid2 in my life. Because of this, and no matter what travail awaits me, using that definition of ‘tranquility or quiet’, I am indeed at peace.

The Queen mentioned that award recipients should pass them on to others if they so desire. I do not want to tag anyone per se, but I would like to mention three bloggers that I enjoy reading. Of these, I have to mention Ina, the Moose Buyer. She is going through such tough times with the recent death of her brother.Along with Ina, I mention her cousins, Joan and the Lynn. As a close family, all three are coping with this terrible family tragedy. They support each other because of their affection and love for each other. I hope and pray that they will the find peace in these tough times. This is not a tag, but is our hope for peace and the best for you three. Always.

To Mimi, again, this award is nice to receive and I am very grateful. We all want the peace that seems to elude us all. Thanks Mimi!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

As time goes by...

In happy news, I sent the final forms (with beaucoup documentation) to Social Security (SSA) yesterday. Since I cannot stand to even step foot into the local office, I sent this data to SSA via Fedex. It wasn't a long trip, but I did print my proof-of-delivery that shows that SSA received my three pound paperwork extravaganza. I hope for the best...

Well, guess who acted as a substitute teacher today? That of course is a rhetorical knew the answer just by the way the question was asked. Well, being unemployed I can use the money, and this was a different assignment in a HS in a neighboring upscale town today. And as such, the assignment went fine. So, I'll keep in touch with the agency, and will take sub assignments again. High School is far superior to middle School as far as overall behavior goes. I suppose that I have learned to never say never automatically...

Patti's mom finally was able to move into her temporary leased housing today, so that is a real step up for her. I expect Patti to blog about this later. But it is great news...

Finally, as I guy I should never fully understand this cartoon, but I like it anyway!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Gridiron Greats?

Today has been an interesting day in a number of different ways. First, Patti and Kid1 went to a baby shower today in Vernon for my niece Amy and her firstborn. I remember when she was born in 1980, and I remember her as an infant and as she grew. I will tell you that she is a great person and she will make a terrific mom. It is nice to report on the great things that happen to those wonderful I know. Great tidings, Amy!

Kid2 was playing in the band for the CIAC (CT Interscholastic Athletic Conference) football playoffs, Class ‘S’ Ansonia HS Chargers vs. New London HS Whalers. As noted previously, Kid2 is a geek, not an athlete. Yet, the football team is so into having the band at the games. You should know that after a fire in 1978 that destroyed the band’s equipment, the band did not exist from that point until 1999, when the HS hired their new musical director Miss. T. She has been instrumental (bad pun?) in reviving the band to its current glory. It is a small band, but we are very happy to have Miss T. running things. She is not a drill instructor, but is results oriented, but yet so motivating in allowing each member to shine. Our two kids have rated the band/music class their favorite in AHS. Yay to Miss T! And why not a yay for the AHS Chargers with their Class S win over the Whalers, 35-0? Why not enjoy a bit of civic pride in this?

We are happy that Kid2 was involved with the championship. We are so proud of him, and Kid1 when she was in the AHS band also. Champions are not just on the field, but playing music in the stands as well. Of course in the interest of full disclosure, I suspect that we may have an obvious bias here :>)

Patti’s mom bought us a ‘thank you’ after the fire of some Omaha Steaks, which we had for dinner tonight (they arrived yesterday via UPS). Kid2 and myself (of course it is a ‘guy’ thing to burn meat in a controlled manner). We coated the two fillets and two strip steaks with a garlic-peppercorn coating, and broiled away. These were delicious, and it was a nice meal, Patti, Marion, Kid2 and myself. We thank Marion for this nice treat. Not just for the food, but we really enjoyed the camaraderie, the conversation, the togetherness of this meal.

Steaks this nice will be great over charcoal next summer...

We may have freezing rain tomorrow might, but of course it is December in the northeast. It has been a good day, so who cares about the weather tomorrow night???