Sunday, November 30, 2008
It has been a nice Thanksgiving, and nicer having Allegra and Cameron back for four days. We are driving them back a bit later today. True, at 46 miles and 55 minutes, they aren't that far away. However, they are growing in many ways in their college years, and we are happy for that. They will be back for a month in about three weeks. Not that long!
The fearless felines are going to be weirded out, naturally. They just got used to A and C, and will re-acclimate to their being gone. Only to begin the process again...
Note: I have enjoyed being part of th NaBloPoMo. Thirty posts in thirty days. I need to write more often, and this may be the impetus I need. Every day? I'll consider this as an attainable goal, certainly to pursue...
Saturday, November 29, 2008
This meme was prompted by our state royalty, also known as Linda, Duchess-of-Norwich-Upon-Thames aka: Are We There Yet? This was inspired by Jamie of Duward Discussion and a post she wrote about her birth year. A meme was the result, and I decided to play along. Simple is the rule that says to go to The Birthday Calculator and plug in your date of birth to find all sorts of interesting stuff about you. Away we go:
- I was born on a Tuesday, under the astrological sign Taurus.
- I was born in the Chinese year of the Goat.
- April 1955 is in the year 5715 on the Hebrew calendar
- Your fortune cookie reads: The skills you have gathered will one day come in handy.
- My age is the equivalent of a dog that is 7.66 dog years
- My lucky number is 6.
- Ruling planets is Venus.
- The average annual salary for American workers in 1955 was $4,128 (about $34,200 in 2008, per the CPI)
- In 1955, Gasoline cost 29¢ per gallon (about $2.35 in 2008, also per the CPI)
- In 1955 the
As of today, I am:
- 53 years old.
- 643 months old.
- 19,576 days old.
Celebrities who share my birthday:
Bobby Rydell – Singer (1942). Known for the song Wild One
I.M. Pei – Architect (1917)
Mike Scott – Pitcher,
Top songs of 1955:
- Rock Around the Clock by Bill Haley & His Comets
- Ain't That a Shame by Fats Domino
- Maybellene by Chuck Berry
1607 - English colonists of the
1956 - First container ship left Port Newark for
1986 - Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant disaster
I enjoyed this revue of history… and myself. Thanks to Linda and Jamie!
Friday, November 28, 2008
As I get older, winter just doesn't have the same draw as when I was younger. The snow didn't matter or the wind nor the gray skies. These days, I'm not really partial to that weather, and using the wheelchair I can't move around to keep warm, so the chill is not my friend. Since we live in a four-season climate, and home is here, I deal with it. The most redeeming thing about winter is that it is the gateway to Spring...
Should I want to imagine that it is warm when it is not, a longing view of Nantucket Sound in August might cure the cold that ails you. There is even a hint of Caribbean style turquoise in the water today. And the beach grasses and plants add color to the seascape. A nice reminder.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
We break bread in thanks. For me, I am thankful to live in a country that encourages individual thought; That our kids are back from college for a long weekend; That we enjoy our health; That we are happy. It has been a tough year financially, we are semi-broke, but far from destitute. I ambulate in a power wheelchair, but that must not detract from my happiness. Yet in our travels, we see many that have a multitude of problems, physical and more. However, they as well, are glad to be alive and happy to live in a free society.
I am thankful and happy to be able to worship God, to have family and friends and have opportunities to pursue opportunity. It is important for me to be thankful and in awe of what I do have and can be. It should be every day, but it doesn't always happen. But today, to be set aside for giving thanks, and I absolutely do...
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
And it is not even Thanksgiving day yet. The ingredients for a favorite of ours, stuffing, is shown above. The commercial bread stuffing is augmented with the following: Onion and celery for aromatic flavors, apple (Granny Smith) for a hint of sweetness, sausage (pork in our case, but a good turkey sausage can be subbed), and butter. The apple cider is added to the mixture before baking for moistness. That's it! We don't stuff the bird with this, we add to the inside an apple, onion and celery for flavor before roasting. I love the smell of onions and celery cooking in butter on Thanksgiving morn.
I ought to lose weight, but not tomorrow...
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
This is the latest installment in Roger's Idaho gem, Creative Photo. As per usual, my entry requires one to use their imagination, or at least suspend disbelief for a few seconds. I see in the top photo that we are on the deck of a ship that is rolling and pitching on a rough sea of whitecaps underneath. Dramamine, anyone?
In the original, we are traveling east on the Sagamore Bridge, carrying US 6 over Cape Cod Canal. A prosaic shot taken about mid-way along the main span. That is, us and half of Eastern Massachusetts on their way to this seriously sunny and spectacular seaside sandbar with sand, shells, sea breezes and seafood (Lobster, Cape Codders and Clam Chowdah)...Check out all the photographers with style and flare at Roger's site!
Monday, November 24, 2008
For Mary's excellent Ruby Tuesday, I am going back to the scanner to get red as red gets. Like the 'Red Rider' as we called it, circa 1992.. A see-saw for the little ones. Not only is the rider seriously red, there are other reds around, but you have to look more energetically: Cameron's sweater, the band on Mickey's top hat, the red collar on Pluto, and others surrounding the Disney characters. And hints of red in his and Allegra's faces. To see a great selection of reds, visit the fun site hosted by the Teach.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
It is Cameron's birthday today. The eighteenth since his beginnings on November 23, 1990 at 8:48 AM. He is a most interesting individual, a real Good Guy. A large person now, 6'3", 215 lbs. Not an athlete, but a geek, and a good one at that. He was digging in on his second birthday cake. For those of a certain age, they all loved Barney in the nineties...and we all hope that the purple reptile stays in that place and time, never to return...Cam may be at the University of Hartford these days, but not far from our affections Happy Birthday, and we 'll see you Tuesday...
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Boris was the first pet the seven of us kids had. My father brought him home one day in 1966, an unexpected furry puppy treat for the kids. My mom probably asked the obvious question: “Just who is going to take care of this dog?” Not to worry, she loved him too.
Boris passed in 1980 of old age. A nice, furry friend. I don’t have many pictures, so I am using two that I could find, and you can see his good looks. The first one in 1968, including myself, brother Chris and sister Vicki. The other around Christmas 1975 or 76. If he looks like he was smiling…no doubt he was!
Friday, November 21, 2008
Actually is Grandpa in his Sixties in the Sixties! I like how the era of the inexpensive scanner has allow us to capture the past, graininess and scratches notwithstanding. I have written extensively about my grandpa, Ralph I. Villers of Steubenville, OH. Always bigger than life, he didn't mind being the center of attention...on film that is! I had always heard of the conventions he went to, always for Motorola I think. I don't know if he was a speaker, but he looks a natural at the podium. Early 1960's I think.
And Easter, 1968 he visited us in East Hartford. In the first of two shots, in our front yard, he looks splendid in his suit, but check out his hat. I think that men's hats were falling out of favor then, but he looks great in his. There seems to be a time when the style of a man might be in how his hat was blocked. And his is stylish, to me in 2008 anyway, not in seventh grade.
And the proverbial pair of aces that beats a full house. My dad and grandpa on Easter, Ralphs all! Looking fine in their Easter best (no doubt I wore a jacket and tie for Easter Sunday. I still like to). What I like is the views of the neighborhood those days. The houses were built in 1962-63, and the yards still a work in progress.
Check out the VW's my parents drove. The red one is a '68 VW Microbus, the green a '64 Bug. My dad was a bit of an iconoclast - the VW Microbus is really the original minivan much earlier than the genre began in 1984. Interesting memories I have, these photos are instigating more and more memories...
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
For 2008, anyway. A favorite shot of the lovely Patti and myself at one of Cameron's soccer games earlier this decade. Obviously unaware that a photo was in progress, we like the look. We are silhouetted against a hazy, warm autumn sky with the requisite foliage view. A favorite of hours not for artistry per se, but for it being us watching one our kid's pursuits together. You can guess who is who :>)
It is cold, but clear weather now, the autumn gone, not technically until December, but the autumn spirit has left the room...
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
There is nothing like your first apartment, for me in East Hartford in 1979. Now before you think this was party central alone, I did have a sense of aesthetics. Since the big window had a favorable exposure, I wanted to have plants that might thrive in the sun. And you see the place in early '80. I couldn't say what any of these plants were, today maybe they would make great ground cover for the hill in our back yard. But this window was the focal point for my first place. Note on the window sill there is a spritz bottle. Um...and a longneck beer bottle, too (what's that doing here??). What memories; it wasn't a bad rental, but it's nice these days having more space between units.
Monday, November 17, 2008
It is Ruby Tuesday, hosted by the teach. What we can give thanks for is our second born, Cameron. He was born the day after Thanksgiving 1990. That Thanksgiving, as the baby was only a week late, we didn't want to spend hours and hours preparing a turkey and have to rush to the hospital. So we had a non-traditional ham that day, with the turkey being served for Christmas instead.
But I digress. As Cam's birthday sometimes falls on Thanksgiving, last in 2006, I offer a picture of his birthday cake on his thirteenth. Bits of red are here: one of the birthday candles, the red Yankee Candle and a napkin. However, the red glow on his face works as a ruby as well. Thanks are for having such a good guy as Cam. Happy Ruby Tuesday!
Sunday, November 16, 2008
This is a grim reminder of no freedom for some. The year is 1962, and in the background is the Berlin Wall...as seen from West Berlin. My father is on the left, and is seen with West German military guards. This picture here is bleak: the gray sky, the fog/mist, and the grim looks on all here. About a year had passed since the Soviet DDR puppet government built the nearly impenetrable concrete block wall. With barbed wire on top. And East German guards with shoot-to-kill orders for anyone foolhardy to attempt an escape. The irony here is that East Germany (in English) was referred as the Deutsche Demokratische Republik (DDR). What was democratic about such a state? Nothing, since the DDR built this wall to keep their subjects in. No freedom of movement between free states, like we are accustomed. My father was a writer for United Press International (UPI) in New York. He could travel freely to a free West Germany. From the east? No way. Cherish your freedoms now (at least east and west reunited in 1990). I found this photo today - looking at it forces me think a bit...
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Okay, I think that it is a function of you can't always get what you want. Of course, since I am unable to walk, I of course do not dance. Yet it is something I'd love to do. Perhaps I think more about this when we have our typical Saturday Night Feast (get it?), when two of the boom box FM stations are programmed for Disco (97.5 and 107.9), one to Big Band/Swing (90.1), and one for oldies (102.9). All of these have songs that are so danceable...
Disco would be the best for this. I never really appreciated the genre in its day, as when I was in college I fancied myself as more of a rocker, so avoided most of those songs. Today, though, I really like this style, so it is no longer a guilty pleasure. It is that dance beat that makes me want to move right now. Even if this is not your style, I would defy anyone (with legs, anyway) to not dance to Boogie Wonderland by Earth Wind and Fire:
"I find romance
When I start to dance
In boogie won-der-land.
Dance, boogie won-der-land, etc"
John Travolta danced great in Saturday Night Fever. However, I would like to dance to other styles as well. I really enjoy all those old movies with Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire that involve those wildly choreographed dance sequences. The music is different, but any catchy tunes from the Big Band or Swing era can be danced to without much provocation. Astaire sings and moves and taps so effortlessly:
"Steppin' out with my baby
Can't go wrong 'cause I'm in right
Ask me when will the day be
The big day may be tonight"
I would love to move like this! I like lots of old songs. One of my favorites is a rollicking number called Well Git It (made famous by Bob Crosby, Bing's brother).This song moves so fast, I love it as a dance tune. Alas, I do not think you can add an audio link to Blogger. In fact, when he kids were little and had their birthday parties at home, we used this song (or Modern Love by David Bowie) as the musical chairs song...what a riot. The little kids had to move fast for that game with that song. We banned Pop-Goes-the Weasel from birthday parties - too slow.
Early Motown had a great dance beat in so many songs ("Sugar pie honey bunch...I can't help myself"). Being able to dance does not affect my quality of life per se, but it would be nice. When I hear something like Disco Inferno ("Burn baby burn") I at least move and sway in my seat...If I were suddenly able to dance, I would probably be a dancing fool, maybe an obnoxious dancing jerk. Heck, I'd even like to learn the nuance of Polkas or the Chicken Dance).
However, I will leave now with the sage advice of the Brothers Gibb:
"You should be dancing, yeah
you should be dancing, yeah"
Friday, November 14, 2008
Should we believe the collective weather people, at least the ones on Fox61, Eyewitness 3, and News88, it will be quite chilly next week after the arrival of a cold front...as low as 40F. Geez, why the worry? You'd think civilization will cease with the arrival of a a hint of winter. I have given up on warm weather as a backdrop to my days...the real cold, totally leafless days are not too far away.
But winter can be pretty, at least before the sand spread on the street turns the snow brown. Like Patti's car, when the snow is fresh, looks almost like a baked good, as sort of Drakes Cake item covered in frosting. Perhaps we can give it a name like it Creme du Hyundai.
But not all play, as the fresh snow needs to be cleared. Eek! Cameron, our snow-in-the-driveway removal maven is at college. Who will do the deed this year? Well, I think that I'll abstain for obvious reasons. I hate to ask the lovely Patti...but it is an electric snow thrower, light and easily manuverable. Maybe all the winter snow will fall when he is home for the Christmas break...
Thursday, November 13, 2008
This week I am offering a feline festival for Idaho favorite Roger, and his Creative Photo contest. The year is 1984, the place an apartment in Denver, the subject is my late sister's cat Jasmine. A big kitten here, the silhouette suggests a black cat. But really the deepest brown fur that looks black is the color (or absence of color, anyway). A cat looking regal, just sitting and surveying his kingdom, which here is only a patio of maybe 100 square feet. King of the jungle or even a concrete slab.
But how can you customize the simple lines of Jasmine the cat? Using Paint.net, there is an adjustment called 'Curves'. I can't describe how it works, but a stunning change in style and character. This looks like the stylish art you might see on a magazine cover, such as The New Yorker. This is really unique, a cat transformed by an artist.
Finally, the picture of a nearly black cat insists for the opposite effect, the inverted colors look of a negative. The total opposite of black. Actually, this view has an uncanny resemblance to the pair of resident felines in our abode, the loopy brothers Linus and Rigby. Less their bovine style black and tan markings, of course.
Please check out all the entries in this weeks Creative Photo. Photographic artists all!
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Or is it Eyes? I originally posted this picture in a post last
year. I still do not know how this happened....I believe it was taken in the early days of our foray into digital photography around 2002. This is all that appears. I don't know the circumstances, but this shot highlights my eyes. So what does my expression mean? Surprised, but not startled? Smiling, yet with no visible laugh lines? Pensive or relaxed? The plot, thin as it may be, thickens...
What is mysterious is that I'm not wearing sunglasses. In the PC world, the terms for me include the term challenged. Not only I am physically challenged, I am also glare challenged. I see brightness in clouds, snow and rain. So I wear sunglasses in just about every daylight sky condition. But that's just me.
I am even smiling in the beach shot in a beach wheelchair at Craigville Beach on Cape Cod. A reminder or warm weather arriving again, someday...
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
It is a special if not a bit solemn day. It is November 11, Veterans Day (US) and Remembrance Day (Canada). The eleventh month, eleventh day, eleventh hour in 1918, 'The War to End All Wars' (if only). It is a fine day on the green in Derby, Ct. Skies as blue as you hope, chilly but not freezing temperatures, and many vets on hand, many from WWII. Flags everywhere, the Derby High School chorus singing so nicely. What you hope to see, a remembering of all soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. All who fought for freedom.
Of note , Mayor Tony Staffieri of Derby spoke, himself a Purple Heart recipient in Vietnam. We must not forget ant vet's service, any war. Sadly, so many of the WWII vets are passing on. After the nine- gun salute, it was on to the lonely trumpet playing Taps. It is searing. The trumpeter today is Bernie, someone Patti knows from writing about local vets for the paper. He sounded crisp, and played Taps well. Unfortunately, he keeps in practice by playing at many veterans funerals...Let none of us forget. Ever.
Monday, November 10, 2008
However, members of the Derby Historical Society have a ramp that allows me and the ‘chair get to view the first floor. And there was cooking going on at two of the fireplaces, all in cast iron pots with red-hot embers on the lids. And it was great:
Excellent food, and even more impressive was the number of students, elementary through high school that belong to the society and worked as hard as the adults in the pursuit of history. Like churning butter, which looks quite difficult And toasting bread at the fireplace (there is a iron tool for that back then). It was a great event.
David Humphreys was quite an impressive figure, an accomplished man and
entrepreneur. He was a colonel in the Continental Army who was aide de camp to General George Washington during the Revolutionary War. I should learn more about him, an important figure of history in our area. Many thanks to the
Sunday, November 9, 2008
I enjoy looking at the many old black & white family photos we have in boxes. A long while ago, I posted this photo, and do so again as I enjoy the period charms. This was taken in April, 1957, and was taken at the same time as two year old Ralph in my blog sidebar. The place is our rental abode at
Saturday, November 8, 2008
- To always have dinner with the lovely Patti. To talk about all things, great or not, mundane or impressive. To just linger and converse.
- The occasional contact with our kids in college. I spoke by phone with daughter Allegra today. You remember them when they were small, but how poised they become as they grow.
- My vehicle. Not so much per se about my Ford van with 140,000 miles, with beginning rust and a strong V8. But the freedom I have that allows me and wheelchair to drive places, to enjoy independence without always having to rely on others to get to those places.
- To try to create a tasty meal without a recipe and using what we have on hand. Give me chicken broth, celery, onions, butter and canned diced tomatoes with whatever meat, pasta or rice we might have on hand. It is nice to make something that is more than just edible, but tasty as well.
- My memories, and the photos that capture those memories. I am scanning many old photos these days, and seeing a particular moment jump at me, when the kids were little, or even when I was. I can say “I remember that!”.
- Our home. We have made the place wheelchair accessible everywhere with 36” wide doors, huge accessible bathroom with roll in shower, laminate floors for easy travel. We need many upgrades, and they will occur at some point. But I have access house wide…
Friday, November 7, 2008
This is the latest installment of the always great Creative Photo contest from Roger, Idaho's finest photographer and spokesman. An old shot taken from while on a DC-10 decades ago. The plane's audio was turned to United's channel 9, which has the air-to-ground audio. The other planes on the same frequency were asking the controllers for other altitudes because of the rough air they were in. We, on the other hand, were enjoying the smoothest ride I've enjoyed upstairs.
So we all want smooth sailing in the air, and the picture on the left is serene. but on the right, the colors were inverted. Not sandwiched between the bluest skies and the fluffiest clouds, but in a different mood. I don't know exactly what it is...I see a ship's deck on the sea while navigating through a foggy sky while avoiding the rocks on the shore. Or what? A subtle adjustment in this shot changes the complexion and character of the view. Check out the other outstanding entrants in this week's creative foray into photography.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
This is my entry for this Blog Blast For Peace, hosted as always by the lovely Mimi. I offer something personal, our kids Allegra and Cameron in 1992. At ages three and almost two, ours have not known anything done in anger. Not in hate. The youngest are the most innocent, they have not learned anything but parental peace. They would be protected, cared for and loved by us. One only knows (or sadly needs to know) peace when little. The sniping, hatred and warring are learned behaviors...learned as they age. Peace, as commanded by God, is the ideal. If we grown-ups want peace, especially for our children, we need to practice it. So it, too, will be a learned behavior. Peace, always the ideal.
I voted differently, as I have noted. Unlike many that don't like the result, I am not going to say he is the president. As Senator McCain said in his concession speech, I see Obama as my president. One hopes for a general downplaying of the severe rhetoric of the campaign. Honestly, perhaps we can promote civil discourse. A dream, perhaps. As Americans, we need to get along. I wouldn't expect all to get along perfectly, but at least civilly.
Our 19 year old daughter Allegra was able to vote for President for the first time. Who says that college students are just aimless partiers? Not I, says this proud dad.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
In this country, we have a right to vote should we choose to. I have done so since 1976, presidential, state, and local. Voting in Connecticut is easy, just fill out the choice in the bubbles and feed the ballot into the optical voting machine (since 2007). A neighborhood school was our polling location. completed the process in less than five minutes. You don't wait long to vote here, each ward having its own polling place. I have never waited more than fifteen minutes during any election. So, it is not a hassle to vote in Ansonia - there can be very few mitigating factors in not voting.
Article II Section I of the US Contitution says in part: The Executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice-President chosen for the same Term...
My opinion is that if you didn't participate in the process, no whining about the results. Voting is but a small price to pay to live in our splendid Republic.