Sunday, June 29, 2008

Partytime, and the living is easy

When looking at Patti and myself on the veranda, it seems that we are at our private villa overlooking the sea. As we survey the grand views and moored watercraft. And the water offers a beautiful backdrop to the ever stylish, classy and elegant Patti.
Fast forward to reality and we are actually on New Haven Harbor, more technically Morris Cove. Although not our own, the views are beautiful. There is a celebration for the wedding of Patti’s cousin. Of course the bride looked stunning, and the reception overlooking the harbor was fun. We don’t get out that often to extravaganzas like this, so we do enjoy ourselves when invited.
Patti captured the sunset very nicely (see here), and I am happy to use one of her shots. New Haven is an urban area, but the sea cliff location is one of great views. And St. Bernadette’s church is such a nice place. Of course, aficionados will remember this church as the place where the Five Satins recorded the classic In the Still of the Night in 1955.

It was a fun evening, and we stayed up late. We’re not exactly geezers, but when you are enjoying yourself, it is okay to forget about your sleep for a while.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Creative photograph

I offer this entry for Week 2 of photographer extraordinaire Roger's creative photography contest.

I snapped this with my then trusty Pentax K1000 at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha in 1983. This bruin chose to not be in his personal pool on this stiflingly humid 102° Nebraska day. It’s like he was showing to us zoo visitors that he was tougher than the stinkin’ Omaha sun…as well as his visitors. Tough is as tough does, I suppose.

Or perhaps more of a polar bore, lazier than our cats (is that even possible??).

Note the interesting shadows of the fence bars (not bears) surrounding the exhibit.

This is a scan of the 8 ½ X 11 print in our living room, so the quality might be suspect. Even more odd is that the print is stuck onto the glass of the frame. As the negative is long gone, I hope to take a digital photo or have a professional take one to renew this unique pose. I even entered this in a company photo contest In 1984. I didn’t win, but was heartened in the day to hear some co-workers say nice things about it. I’ll take complements any day.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Cheap is as cheap does

How to maintain your budget with current food price inflation is not so bad…if you can work cheap. I grew up with this cost-per-meal strategy, and the logic behind inflation fighting cooking. We were solidly middle-class, but food for nine meant you had to plan. My parents did…and some of that remains in my memory.
Shopping Saturday meant my parents had checked out every newspaper ad and choose the most cost effective meals, stopping at lots of supermarkets on any given Saturday in East Hartford, most defunct and unknown to youngsters in 2008: First National, Stop&Shop, Top Notch, Popular and Meatown. Luckily, the family vehicle was a VW Microbus with room for nine and many groceries.
Their strategy might include an Easter ham. An expensive bone-in ham was a value (irregardless of the price of that ham) because you got over the course of a week: a nice dinner, 6-8 sandwiches, ham and potato ccasserole (two days) and ham and navy bean soup (two days). So the cost per meal when calculated was modest. And the soup was the payoff for me. Value v. Price allowed for that ham (figuring in today’s pricing of maybe $50-$60 for such a ham).
Forward to 2008. The current income and oil and food inflation says one has to be creative about food. Today it’s chicken and pasta. The chicken was boneless chicken breasts, purchased BOGO (no, the second one costs less per unit…it is Not Free!). So two packages at $9.65 make at least four meals for this price. The meat for four meals is $2.65 per meal. Not too bad.
The pasta and tomatoes were sale priced at $1.00 each, the bell pepper was $.050 and we had chicken broth, onion and garlic on hand. The whole pot cost about $5.50, and there should be a main meal for four and at least two lunches. Excellent food although not haute cuisine. So each portion’s food costs are around $1. Okay in 2008. Of course, there are only four of us, so larger families may have a tougher go of it.I’m not really anal about these things, just with food prices and regular gasoline at $4.39 around here; it becomes more of a challenge to keep overall costs in line. Ralph and Eileen would have approved.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Graduate

This is the second go-round for a high school graduation, for Cameron. It has been a good run, but he has been growing and learning so much, and tonight is the culmination of all of that. This being the last of the AHS graduations, Allegra having hers two years ago, in a fitting and appropriately stylish way (see here).

It is time for his commencement: it is not the end but the beginning of the next step for Cam.
There is nothing bittersweet about this, he is very ready for that. Congrats are in order for him, he is ready to grow. He is ready for his time at the University of Hartford, to continue to learn and advance and grow to even greater heights.

We are proud and happy for our son. He has earned this day. And he looked very cool in his sunglasses.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day - To Me

Today is that day to celebrate Dad. Scanning the web today, I note that per Holidays. net: "Father's Day is a day of commemoration and celebration of Dad..." However, I should celebrate being a Dad, a passion/duty/pursuit/job. Pick any of these descriptors, and I can say that I have enjoyed it all. From December 29 1988 to November 23 1990 to the present day.

<---------- Kid1 (aka:
Allegra) sometime in 1990.

Kid2 (aka:
Cameron) around 1991. ---------->

A happy retrospective for this father...on this day

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Retired (so to speak. And I don't need a nap)

More van repairs are happening to me (read: $$$) I was on I-91 South in Hartford coming back from my wheelchair van place for lift repairs. I heard an odd noise that sounded like rushing wind. Odd, very odd.

Them boom, my right rear tire went flat. Very flat. Sidewall failure. Happily (if you must) it was the right rear tire, not the front (where the steering could be compromised). I moved over a lane and exited at Airport Road. A state trooper was conveniently placed on the shoulder, and I thumped to a stop in front of him. He called for help, and in 15 minutes I was on my way with my 10 year old spare.

I called Quacks and this money thing is so ludicrous that we laughed about it. We do have a credit line, so
whatever. This after I have to go back to the van place on the 25th for a serious lift weld repair. Many hours at $85 per to fix. I need to have a good working wheelchair lift.

To Town Fair Tire in Newington. Two rear tires for $243.

At 135,000 miles and ten years, things tend to break, leak, rust. On Wednesday, I am going to have the front brake rotors replaced, have the ball joints or other sundry front suspension pieces fixed. And I have a slight radiator leak. I'll pass on the leak fix, unless a recored radiator is cheap enough.

No need to complain. Better to have a safe and reliable Ford for my travels. And no, Ford does not mean:


At this mileage, things break. At least not my spirit. 'Money is just a tool' said Kirk Douglas playing Doc Holliday in the 1957 version of Gunfight at the OK Corral. I love that line and movie. Slightly OT, but Burt Lancaster played a fabulous Wyatt Earp in that film. It's only money.

Even more OT, Patti's mom is doing well in her real estate travails. She is closing on the sale of her fire damaged house on Tuesday, and is buying a condo only 1/2 mile from us. Patti (along with the help of her real estate friend) managed to shave $15K from the asking price. Should anybody get involved in serious negotiations, consider hiring Patti. You'll be glad you did!

Sunday, June 8, 2008


We finally got out for dinner to celebrate our anniversary...only 28 days after the actual date of May10. It's not a case of better late than ever, but it was time to be served our celebratory meal. At a very nice sit-down Chinese restaurant. I understand that fortune cookies are not a Sino but rather an American invention. But my fortune is rather prescient, as it stated the obvious...then, now, and continuing.

The meal was very nice with the lovely one having shrimp and asparagus and myself tangerine scallops (spicy sauce). As the place was mostly empty, we received extra attention (and a free after dinner plum wine served in nice cordial glasses).

The service reminded me of our first date in February 1985. It was snowing that day and we went to an (American) Mexican restaurant, normally crowded. But for us on that snowy day, we seemed to be the only occupied table. Therefore, lots of attentive staff and generous service. Much like our meal yesterday, it is nice to be served where we can Relax. Enjoy our time together.

Th tenth of May, whenever observed, is always an excellent occasion.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Peace - The Final Frontier

We know that Queen Mimi is a sovereign over the blogosphere. All kidding aside, the Queen has issued a voluntary directive to her readers, and that is the bi-annual Blog Blast For Peace.

Her subject are honored to be part of this project, really part of this dream. Peace may or may not be attainable...but the hope remains for peace on earth. You can wish, and pray and believe that one day it will be a peaceful world.

Really, if you do not believe that your prayers will be answered...should they be? Praying for peace and believing such prayers will be answered is the first step.

Many thanks, HRH Mimi.