Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year's Eve

This has been a typical New Year's Eve in Ansonia. Not unlike my favorite comic bird Shoe to our left, it has been more food than anything...

Like what we did last year, a platter of Chili nachos. I always enjoy making chili, as my mother did, since 1979. It is a simple and tasty recipe, and today I used ground turkey. And it worked well with those dip-able tortilla chips. Topped with shredded cheese, and broiled a bit on low, it is foolproof. Far from Haute Cuisine, but it works. This is of course not nearly as extravagant as Bond has prepared in his multi course extravaganza for this evening. But he is having guests, ant this New Year's Eve we are not...And it snowed today, so we wouldn't have gone out anyway.

I even had a chili dog - as long as I have been eating and making chili, I had not until today. But a perfectly grilled dog topped with chili an cheese was fine. Today was not exciting due to this day nor for the food and (non) partying. But all four of us were home, and that is what works for me. A family together for the day. Happy New Year to all, and hopes for a peaceful and wonderful 2009!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Ruby Tuesday - The British are coming...

Ruby Tuesday meets the Redcoats. No, they have not just arrived to sack, loot and burn the fine burg of Milford, CT. Actually, it is a reenactment...and the actors aren't even Tories. American, actually. But red predominates here. And here, the great British Beer Company in Hyannis on the Cape. It is supposed to evoke an English pub. Since I've not been to the Isles, I can't say. But if the Union Jack motif means it is (kinda) authentic, that's good enough by me. I'll order a shepherds pie and a British pint (20 oz) of a Black and Tan (Bemis Stout and Double Diamond ale). The redcoats have arrived, whether by land or sea I cannot say! See Mary's excellent showcase of rubies...

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Ode to Joyeux anniversaire

December 29 is a great day for obvious reasons: It is the birthday of my two special ladies, Patti and Allegra. It is special, indeed. Lady Allegra is 20 years old, and who could have thought up such a great kid. Her due date was Dec. 22, 1988, but she made her mom wait.

But worth it, the perfect birthday gift to Patti, as they share the same date.

Patti was born in the 20th Century, and that is all that I’ll say about that! But I offer both a very happy day, and the continued blessings they deserve.

A lovely pair, they look fine in any setting, anywhere. Like the City of Lights, Paris.
It is fitting that we see them at the Musée du Louvre in front of Van Gogh's The Church at Auvers. A work of art on canvas, it is true.

But fine art can and does show up in many places. Like in our midst, and who else but the incomparable Patti and Allegra. Happy birthday, ladies!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

My family always gets together on Christmas Eve, this year at my sister Michele's house. I look forward to this,as it has always been a big day. Since 1963, my parents said we should buy for one othe kid. A sensible move, as with seven, who could afford to buy for all on a child's income (read: none).

We have continued through all the kid's kids. For the past three years and today, it is a Yankee Swap which is a blast. Too many rules to explain, but really fun. For food, it is pot luck, and I'm bringing the tomato bruschetta which will be served on a toasted bread (easy to make).

Finally, since we have a fake tree, I have decorated out potted Rosemary bush. We brought this hearty potted herb plant in in October, and it has a nice piney smell. So decorations were needed, and voila: a holiday plant with Christmas style. Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

It's the thought...

I see the usual dilemma when choosing gifts for Christmas. I don’t believe in giving flashy gifts, but to give a gifts from the heart that are appreciated by the recipient. The thought matters more.
That said, I enjoy the giving part, but am less enthralled in wrapping said gifts. I don't know if it is a guy thing, but I seem unable to wrap a present - Not well at least. Some are great at it, beautiful corners, hidden seams and a flat and taut perfection in the wrap.
But I prevail. I have to hand it to the inventor of the remarkable package mending tool. Of course, that is the most useful 3M Scotch Tape®. The packages are not necessarily pretty - but it is always the thought that counts most!
I always enjoy Mary’s Ruby Tuesday, and the more red the merrier. Not that I want to hear Bing Crosby crooning how he is dreaming of a Ruby Christmas (those are the lyrics, right?!) I do wish for a wonderful Christmas and Hannukah to all!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The most wonderful time...

We didn't send out a Christmas card this year - we didn't get a picture, and by the time we get the picture and get it out to CVS for cards and mail them, many will not receive in time. But the roads slippery today, and if we take the shot and move with speed tomorrow, we may have a chance.

That said, a view to my/our past is in order. The right card is from 1964, the one our family sent out. I am second in age from the top (9) and third from the left. I had five sisters and my brother/ally is only a few weeks old when this was taken, probably in October I don't know if holiday cards like this were as big then as now...

Of course, starting in 1990, we commissioned cards with the cherubic Allegra and Cameron on them. This is 1993, Allegra just about five and Cam just over three years old. As they grew, they were less cherubic but still posed for our holiday cheers and greetings. They aren't small any more, of course.

But they can still strike an affable pose when needed.

We may just make it work for the 2008 edition, we shall see!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Snow Kidding

It snowed yesterday, not uncommon in the North, and it doesn't snow all that much if you live near Long Island Sound like we do. But the show is always impressive, especially with the blowing snow and reduced visibility. I was scheduled to be home yesterday, and glad to be. The wheelchair is not a fan of frozen precip...

These photos were taken about three hours apart, and taken by me from my 54" height from the front door. Snow has frosted my hulking Ford van and Patti's Hyundai. Patti was able to file her story from home, so all were all inside and warm.

The snow in the final view looks like fluffy orbs descending upon the entrance to our home. I used the night setting on our point-and-shoot with the flash. I didn't want to washout the flurry of fresh snow, and it seems to work. We have the feel of the snow from above and the aftermath on the ground and objects below. Snow can be a hindrance to me, yet when it is fresh it looks great.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Sky Pilot at Sunrise

I have been looking at the sky from below and above the horizon for most of my life. Thus, for Tish's great Looking at the Sky, I am re-posting this picture from decades ago onboard a Delta 727 between Atlanta and Philadelphia. This airplane departed 06:20 hours into a winter sky. I took this on film on only a 50mm rangefinder, and was not a staged photo. I see the bluest of a night sky in that last bit of twilight just before the dawn, which will shortly occur. Upon gazing on the orange glow, you are seeing the curvature of the earth in a gentle arc. I was tired with the airplane journey that began at 3:00, but this picture of early morn I never tire of...

Monday, December 15, 2008

Ruby Tuesday - Little Rubies

It is the season for red, we all know. As the ruby red color permeates the Mary's famous Ruby Tuesday. I offer a few holiday reds this time, all in the tradition. Three day old Allegra is resplendent in this cartoon reindeer sleeper. Even tho her birthday was a few days after Christmas, she was a week late, and it wasn't like we would put it away until next year...As for Cameron, this is the holiday when he was six, looking resplendent in Santa's chapeau.

Not to be outdone, the a
lways stylish Patti looks great, as always, this time in her red cap with fur trim. And her Christmas tree pin - can you spot it? And I am quite happy to be a recipient as well, and I did in 1996. I have the red up top, of course. But what the photographer captured well was the red stockings on the wall. With this perspective, the socks look as if they were sitting on top of my head...almost like the antlers of a reindeer. Unusual, to say the least. Follow the expanding trail of rubies by visiting her site!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Creative Photo - The Head of the Line

For this installment of Roger's fabulous Creative Photo, I am returning to the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. This was taken at my favorite of all events, the equestrian show jumping. The horses were beautiful, with their beautiful coats and many with braided manes. The riders wore traditional English style wool riding outfits, despite the blasted heat and pollution at Santa Anita Park. And these riders and their horses worked as a team, the rider coaxing his hoofed team member who complied as the bar was raised, again and again.

This photo is as it was scanned, the motion natural. What I see, or don't see, is the rider's head as it is camouflaged by the shrubbery set around the obstacles. A 1980s version of The Legend of the Headless Horseman. Except my more modern take is on the West Coast, not in New York, and this rider did not lose his head literally, of course...

Visit Rogers site to see creative photo artists and their very creative artwork.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Looking at the Sky - Part I

I am happy to be introduced by the lovely Patti to Tisha's fine picture feature,
Looking at the Sky.
I am intrigued, and ready to contribute. This is a scan of a view from a United DC-10 from LA to Chicago decades ago.
Clear skies and the smoothest flight ever.

If I remember, This is probably the first in a sequence of pictures I took at the beginning of the long descent into O'Hare, probably over eastern Iowa. Just fair weather clouds underneath the 135 foot starboard wing. Rather wispy clouds in the light blue August sky. Unremarkable shots yet
with a magical feeling: Being in a heavier than air machine while being in the sky...and looking!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Scanners Aweigh my Boys, Scanners Aweigh...

I have been busily scanning, a few hundred down with a thousand to go, is feels like that. I have run across a few more photos and am posting a few more of these unearthed gems. Scenes that can only make a parent smile, such as a couple of sleeping cherubs aged 1 month and 2 years.

On the other hand, somebody named Ralph has has had enough of an arduous photo shoot, and demonstrably so. Yet parents Ralph and Eileen are keeping their smiles on while partaking in this memory.

Fast forward to April 21 1996. I have returned with my new used wheelchair van, a 1989 Dodge B250 RAM. It was huge, averaged 14 MPG (then about $1.40/gal), and handled like a barge. I drove VWs and Nissans prior, and liked smaller vehicles. But what price independence? I now had the ability to get around and figure out a way to pay for the gas later...

Finally, another of Grandpa on the boardwalk in Atlantic City. My
guess is in the late 1940s, given the cut of the suit. As noted in the past, I think his idea of casual Friday was to remove the tie. A view of AC in its heyday, way before the casinos. It looks good, and the salty breezes of the Atlantic worked as well as A/C (maybe)...

I live for the day and the future. But I hope to complete archives of these gems soon. Even as I dig further into ancient history, it almost seems that I am if I adhering to the lyrics to the old Jethro Tull song:

"Oh, we won’t give in,
We’ll keep living in the past"

Monday, December 8, 2008

Ruby Tuesday - Lunch at Carmines

This Ruby Tuesday begins with Patti and myself at a great Christmas luncheon on Saturday. It was for the membership of the Independent Living Center I work for now, and was the board president at one time. Carmine's in New Haven was the venue, and the ambiance and food (salmon with a balsamic vinegar glaze on top of a bed of lentils) was excellent. Given the season and decor, red is all around. Like the subtle reds to the right. The brick trim and the red star on the San Pellegrino water bottle. To the left. the tablescape is nice. Set up for banquet seating, the layout isn't inspiring as the details, the poinsettia on the tables and alternating red and green napkins. I should have taken a picture of the tomato topping on the bruschetta appetizer, but didn't - it looked so good that consumption was the order at that moment.
Finally, the ruby holiday trim is applied here to the fine cordials cabinet (XO Cognac, Grappa, single malt Scotch, etc). A stylish collection of bottles adorned with poinsettia and an angelic figure in red. A great day of food, wine and rubies was had by all. For more ruby views, go to Mary's excellent Ruby Tuesday site.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

What disability?

It is easy to whine about having to live with a disability. The wheelchair can be a hindrance, so complaints are expected. I had better not, though, Patti and went to a Christmas party today for a local support group of parents of children with Autism. Even Santa was there. We are friends of the president Cathy, herself a mom of an autistic son, and a tireless advocate for the rights of the disabled. I look at the children and their parents an say something like I don't know how I could do that.

However, what you see with the parents of these children, you see that they are not different than other parents we see: They are loving and doting parents that would do anything for their children, special needs or not. Challenges are met with not merely a sense of duty, but a sense of purpose that as parents they will do whatever they need to do for their offspring. Which is a wonderful blessing, tough work at times but never a burden.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Memories are made of these

I have been scanning away for the past week. Over 200 film photographs scanned, edited and filed since yesterday. These are images from before 2002 when we received our first digital camera. Naturally, I am unable to just process these images without memories of the past. Such as Cameron, jumping off the school bus after his first day of Kindergarten, his name tag swinging in the breeze. Or earlier the same first day of school, August 30, 1995.
self, Allegra (2nd grade), Cam and a doting grandma prior to the morning school bus. It is the last photo of me standing prior to the 'chair (11/17/95). Just an interesting pose on a nice day (I hadn't thought about college back then, of course).The last item was wheelchair related, the first day of house renovations to accept the 'chair. To construct the ramp in the front meant removal of the existing walkway for for the ramp excavation. The day was Halloween 1996. The entire sidewalk is being removed in one piece. There could be 10 more, but these three caught my attention. Memories of the way things were, so to speak...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Scribbles away

I have been awarded the excellent Superior Scribbler award by Leora of Here in HP. I enjoy reading about life in central Jersey, and insights into Israel and lessons from the Torah. Leora received this from Robin of Around the Island , another pleasant blog about life.
I always felt that Patti was the official writer in these parts, yet I enjoy trying my hand at prose. This blog has given me a chance to scribble (electronically, anyway). What I see in the face of our intrepid scribbler is a look of enjoyable determination in his writing. A look of pleasure he has about this undertaking with words. Away we go!
Seven facts about me:
1 – I prefer to sleep and rise early. Age related, I guess.
2 - I really love American cars from the late 1950’s, those with wild colors, fat whitewall tires, in-motion styling and large fins. I’d like a 1958 Chrysler New Yorker in turquoise and white. Install a hand control. And I’m set.
3 - I enjoy watching large jet airplanes take of and land. Across Route 75 from the Hartford airport
there is a McDonalds across the street to watch Southwest, Northwest and whomever else on Runway 33. Which I do…
4 - I like many genres of music, from Disco to Tony Bennett to Big Band to Pink Floyd to Jazz to lots else. I’d love to have seen Sinatra in the mid-60s: the tight arrangements, Nelson Riddle Orchestra and the Chairman’s smooth phrasing.
5 - I like to cook, to create something out of nearly nothing. Not haute cuisine, but something where taste and texture rule.
6 - I was not a cat person until 1999 when we received Sir Humphrey. Since his passing last year, we have two oddball feline brothers named Linus and Rigby on hand for laughs.
7 – I accept the wheelchair and that it gets me around. But I’m not St. Ralph, I complain about it often enough. But I, like most, see people with far worse issues in their lives who don’t complain…and that stops the whining!
I wish to award this to a few whose blogs I read and enjoy. Whose writing and subject matter compel me to smile and think at the same time:
- Linda of Are we There Yet?
- Patti at Late Bloomer Boomer
- Lynn of A Tired Mama
- Tammy from Queen Size Funny Bone
- Dianne of Forks Off the Moment
Here are the rules:
a - Link to your tagger and list these rules on your blog.
b - Share 7 facts about yourself, some random, some weird.
c -Tag 7 people (if possible) at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
d - Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blogs.
Thanks Leora, This was fun.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Ruby Tuesday - Holiday Countdown

They say "Since 'tis the season". Kinda early, of course. That said, this week's Ruby Tuesday post is my vision of the holiday that falls on the twenty-fifth of this month. In my sometimes skewed vision, I offer last year's tree, a slanted view. As usual, symmetrical wheelchair photography is not my
forté. But that does not stop me from chancing the shot. If you i
gnore the 20° slope and reorient your eyes to the subject, you will see that it is a tree, decorated for the aforementioned holiday. No, it is not real, the 'trunk' is steel tubing, the 'branches' are steel wire, and the 'needles' are polypropylene. But the affection of four people decorating the tree together makes for a perfect tree every time. I can even participate from the 'chair, but don't make me place that pointy ornament on top of the tree...It is slightly out of reach. Visit Mary's place for rubies galore.