Off to see the wizard for post 185..

Wouldnt you like to have written a timeless story like the Wizard of Oz?  Where do the ideas come from? Skip the money, the royalties, the fame. How about just creating something that lasts forever? Big thoughts for any night. Maybe that is why we have children. To create something that lasts forever. Tonight is New Years Eve 2011.  Happy New Years to you and your family. Here is a toast to our health and happiness for 2012.

DS3 has been visiting with his girlfriend for a few days now. He has rarely communicated with us during this time. I guess he is enjoying his vacation from school and parents. After several texts asking/prompting for a picture, DS3 sent this one of him and his girlfriend.

DS3 and girl friend New Years Eve 2011

They both look very happy. He is staying over until Monday night when her father will be driving him back to New Jersey.  DS1 left this afternoon to stay with his friend in Philadelphia. They have VIP tickets to the Manayunk Brewery’s New Years Eve party. Thankfully the party is a short walk from the apartment where his is spending the night.  Ds2 is spending New Years Eve with his parents. We have a nice bottle of French Champagne to open at midnight.

Last night DS1 built a fire in the outdoor fireplace in the back yard. We shared a few beers and some laughs while tending the fire.  He got hired to deliver pizzas part-time today. While this is not a career move (I don’t think), he will now at least have a source for money besides his parents. 

Today in New Jersey it got to 60 degrees. Not bad for the last day of 2011. I would rather see 60 degrees than the 10 degrees that we will see on Wednesday. I went down to the high school and played “wall ball” for about 45 minutes. Wall ball is when you take your lacrosse stick and a ball and throw the ball against the wall working on your eye – hand coordination. Boring, but important.  After I was done with that my DW and I took a walk around the park near our home. It was just that nice out today.

Dinner was marinated flank steak on the grill. Yum!  Mashed potatoes and garlic bread. I got a nice bottle of Cabernet as a Christmas present, we are enjoying it tonight. DS2 had a beer with dinner tonight. This is a first for him. He will be 21 in May. Good for him, as we told him, all things in moderation. Why good for him? Well, alcohol is prevalent on college campuses (duh). Learning about having a beer or two at home is better than having your first beer at school with everybody watching you. His campus is dry. He tells us that occasionally the campus gets “damp”.

My last picture of the year comes from 2005 when DS3 graduated from 6 th grade. When they go into 7 th grade they leave the township schools and attend the regional school.

This writing every night has been really fun. See you next year.


DS3 6 th grade graduation 2005

The smell of butter in post 184..

Ah, the smell of butter at the dinner table. I must have spilled some on my shirt because I can still smell the butter. We used butter as kids on our toast and such, but as adults we rarely use butter. Unless.. it is lobster night in Manahawkin. And it was. As I wrote last night, the Shop Rite had lobsters on sale this week. I took DS2 down to the store after work in search of the elusive lobster.

When we go to the seafood counter there was a crowd of people standing around. Not a good sign I thought. I asked one of the senior citizens standing if they were on line or waiting for lobsters to be cooked. The answer was, cooked. That is a good sign. We went to the counter and the watched a clerk explain to an 80-year-old man that there were not many lobsters left and they might not have the female lobsters that he requested. He decided that any lobster was better than no lobster.

Our turn came next. I asked what size lobsters they had available. They told me 1.25 lb lobsters and showed me what they looked like. They had no clue that I spent 20 years in the seafood business and certainly knew what a 1.25 lobster looked like. I ordered 8 of them. With four lobster eaters for dinner, 2 ea of small lobsters would be a decadent treat. After I got my lobsters, I overheard another clerk tell the next customer that the only lobster left weighed 15 lbs!. A monster. Here is a picture of it in the tank.

15 lb lobster

Not a great picture, too much reflection from the side of the tank.  My sister tweeted me that she had purchased a 10 lb lobster at her local Shop Rite. Also a monster. It takes 7 years for a lobster to grow to 1 lb. Imagine how old a 15 lb lobster is.  I suggested that we take it to the beach and let it go. Ds2 was not excited by the idea.

So the 8 small lobsters went home with us. When I cook lobsters I first boil onions and celery in the water to give the water some flavor.

Cooked lobsters

In this picture the lobsters have just come out of the pot. They need to sit in the sink for about five minutes so that you can hold them and cut them up. In a pervious life I used to work clam bakes. We would set up our serving station. Then serve clams on the half shell, clam chowder, steamer clams, lobsters, corn on the cob and watermelon for dessert.  Some parties would include a bartender or two, and various other side dishes from other catering companies.  Using this experience has made providing the clam bake experience much easier at home. 

Nothing but bodies

In this picture the lobster bodies have been separated from the claws and tails. The claws and tails went to the table, the bodies stayed in the sink. When we visited Halifax years ago, the family eat the contents of the body as well. Not my style.

Well, yum has been called. 

Good night moon and


It is all downhill now for post 183..

Unless the journey is uphill in both directions.

On the ride home from work I heard one of my favorite silly songs. The artist is Willie Nelson. The song is called “The Bob Song” Clicking here will take you to the video.  Silly, but maybe there is a message of acceptance here. Check out the stanza:

He said: You swing from your tree
And I’ll swing from mine
You have your lemons and I’ll have my lime
Funny we all act like monkeys sometimes
So you swing from your tree and I’ll swing from mine
I’ll Swing from mine

Sounds like accepting each person for who or what they are. Why do I bring this up tonight? For no real reason at all. I like the song, the lyrics are pretty simple and tune is catchy.

I traded text’s with DS3 today. He is still alive and enjoying his visit with his girlfriend.  They went ice skating yesterday. In his words “I absolutely hate ice skating”  describes how that went. I asked if there were pictures, he said they were still in Caroline’s camera.  Maybe they will make it to Facebook. When I came home DS1 was working on on-line job applications. I think he be getting tired being poor. DS2 is as I write this, practicing his guitar. 

My DW put in a full day today. Despite the threat of no work tomorrow, the doctors have magically found a days work to close out the work week for 2011.  I stayed under the radar today. Tomorrow I am working from home. I have a documentation project to do tomorrow. That should take most of the morning to complete. At least when I get bored with the writing I can get up and walk around the house.

The Shop Rite has a four-day lobster sale this week that ends on Saturday. We are having a clam bake for dinner tomorrow night. Corn, clams, lobster and butter.  Hmmm, I can’t wait. The non lobster eating child is away so I won’t have to make two different meals tomorrow night.

Tonight’s picture comes from my older sister. She and her’s went skiing today. She lives in Washington State and apparently they, unlike us in New Jersey, have some snow on the ground.  Enjoy!


Skiing in Washington State, December 2011

Post 182.5 (the half post)..

People on the GSP were crazy this morning. Where they were going in such a hurry, I don’t know.  It seems that the median speed this morning was nearly 80 miles an hour!  And this was in the 55 MPH speed zone in Ocean County.

Short and sweet (half post). Here are some pictures from lunch. I took my sandwich over to the Monmouth Executive Airport across the street. I sometimes will sit and watch the planes take off and land. There was not much activity today.  Enjoy.


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Lucky enough by me post 182..

I am a half post (a half post?) away from the mid way point of this adventure. I am writing tonight listening to Scott Kirby play at the Smokin’ Tuna Saloon in Key West. At 10 pm tonight they have another band come on and one of the band members is saxophone player Amy Lee. She played with Jimmy Buffett for many years. I have caught their first set a few nights this week. I don’t think I will watch tonight. I am going to bed early.  I am 50 and a half years old now.  Soon my hair will turn grey (too late).

Today started very early. DS3 and I were up at 05:00. We left the house at 05:50 and headed west to Willow Grove, Pa.  I dropped him off at his college girlfriend’s mothers house and headed east into the rising sun towards work. I was early for work despite the 130 mile commute. Early is good. Did I ever tell you DS3’s mantra about being on time? If not here we go:

To be early is to be on time

To be on time is to be late

To be late is unacceptable

I like that style. I guess that things are going ok since I have not heard from him at all today. I told him to call me if there are any problems. It is only 60 miles away, I can go get him. Yes, he is 18 and an adult. But he will always be my youngest.

At work today I struggled to keep busy, again. The impending doom of January 2, 2012 is like a sand storm on the horizon. I have a full slate set for January including traveling to Florida for two weeks. The adult lacrosse team from OWU that I play for is competing in a lacrosse tournament in Weston, Florida the weekend of January 21, 2012. I traded in two timeshare weeks so that I can go south early and stay after the tournament is over. I can work remotely from Florida. This will allow me to save some vacation days for later in the year.

February’s home improvement project is painting indoors. The last time I did any major painting was probably back in 2002 when I was out of work. It is well past time for a fresh coat. By February two of the three children will be back to school. With just the three of us in the house it will be easier to get things done. Or at least that is the story that I am telling myself this week.

Tonight’s picture comes from Christmas 2009. In this picture are DS3 (L) and DS2(R). Neither of them look very awake. Enjoy!


Christmas 2009. Not quite awake yet

Protocol 181 has been declared..

As you may have guessed we went to see the new Mission Impossible movie tonight. If you are a fan on the international spy, James Bond – ish, shoot them up and blow them up, then this is a movie you might want to see.  I am a fan of all of the above. We saw the movie at our local multiplex. I wanted to go down to Atlantic City and see the movie at the IMAX theatre, but I just could not make the movie schedule today. I wanted to go over the weekend, but I was afraid that being on call and going to the movies was a bad mix.  I took DS2 with me. DS1 was not interested and DS3 was at a friend’s house.

DS1 and DS2 went back to their grand mother’s house for lunch today. When we were there on Sunday we forgot to bring home our home-made lasagna. The boys went up to get the lasagna and eat lunch. DS3 spent the day with one of his high school buddies. This friend enlisted at age 17 and spent the summer between junior and senior years at boot camp. He hurt his ankle during boot camp. Surgery to fix the injury happened last week. DS3 has been over quite a few times to keep his friend company.  Tomorrow I am driving DS3 over to PA to visit his girlfriend. He will be staying until after New Years Eve.

While the boys were up visiting their grand mother gave them the pictures that you will find at the bottom of today’s blog. She shot them (and all her pictures) on actual film. I scanned them into the computer this evening.  The pictures were taken last April after a lacrosse game played in NYC on a field under the Throgs Neck Bridge.

Work for me was surprisingly slow. The phones were magically fixed this morning.  I still have some decorating to do in my office. I may use this quiet time to finish the process.

That is it for tonight.  Enjoy the pictures.


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Time to turn a complete 180 (post) ?

I am almost halfway home in my blog writing experiment.  If you take half of 365 days (a non-leap year), you get 182.5 days. Using this logic, I will be at the half way point of my 50 th year in 2.5 days.  By the calendar, tomorrow is my half birthday. When we were growing up we would often celebrate someones half birthday. I know, with ten children, why would you want to add ten more celebrations to the year.  I don’t know. You never got presents on your half birthday. You would most likely get a cake and one chorus of Happy Half a Birthday.

Everybody in the house was off today except for me. I worked my last day of support until December 24, 2012.  If the Mayan calendar is correct, then I am done with holiday support for my lifetime.  On the plus side for me, the phones were out at the office. For some reason when you called the office, the number rang once and that was it. Needless to say, this pretty much eliminated the support calls that came in today. I got a few via email, but that is it. Hopefully the phones will be back up on Tuesday.  Tuesday should be mad house crazy with no phones today and the busy holiday weekend past and the busy holiday weekend coming up.

In the realm of my extended family there is some interesting news. My youngest sister in Texas got engaged over the weekend. They had previously posted on Facebook that they had purchased 5 acres of land in Texas and we looking to build a house together. My older sister in Washington State told me today that they have a new puppy in the house. They got a Siberian Husky. They named the dog, Nancy. I asked, why Nancy. She said “The dog has the nicest blue eyes. Mom liked Frank Sinatra (Old Blue Eyes). Frank had a daughter, Nancy” hence the name.  Works for me.

Tonight was a lacrosse night for me. I did not have much success. I caught almost every ball thrown to me. I did not score. The game was mostly college players back home for the holidays. My youngest also played with us. He had the last score of the night.  My oldest went with his mother to yoga. DS2 stayed home and guarded the castle. I mean somebody has to put the drawbridge up and down. It is too cold to swim the moat this time a year. And not cold enough to skate across on the ice.

Tonight’s pictures comes from 2007 when my brother the weather man had his second child baptised. And yes, he was that small!


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Did you have a competitive Christmas? .. post 179

That is a funny question. If you stop to think about the meaning of Christmas (not the commercial meaning), having or even thinking about a competitive Christmas would be absurd. But, we all know how the human race is, the flawed group that we are part of. I remember (cue the fog and the slightly out of focus camera lens) STORY ALERT,  Christmas was a special time. Our parents would make sure we went to bed on time or early. There was absolutely no way any of us children would go down to the first floor before my father turned on the Christmas music. That was the signal that it was time.

We would sit on the stairs between the second floor and the first floor trying to peek around the corner at the bottom of the stairs to where the Christmas tree was . It was dark, the radiators were hissing (steam heat) and we children were trying to be quiet, yet not to quiet. I’m sure our parents had this all figured out. We just did not know it. After the music was turned on we would all rush down the stairs and with some friendly (right) pushing and shoving, approach the tree and the mountain of gifts. Then in an orderly procession, we would open our gifts one at time, taking turns around the room.  This was back in the days after the last dinosaur had been chased from the earth and not long after electricity and indoor plumbing had become a common place.  (Dude)

After we had opened our gifts we would have breakfast and then be off to church for mass.  After mass we would be sent outside to play with whatever we got. At that point we would find our friends whose parents had chased them out of the house. We would exchange stories about who got what.  Now days the who got what is accomplished by a text message, twitter or Facebook.  And the kids don’t seem to be chased outside to get some fresh air and play.

We went to my DW’s mothers house for Christmas. Since both my parents are deceased, they are the grandparents to our children. Her sister, sister’s husband and two teenage boys come down from North Jersey to celebrate as well. Some years we are late, some years they are late. At Thanksgiving this year, we were both on time, truly a record. Today they got stuck in some serious traffic on the GSP and were late. This was ok since it allowed our children to spend some extra time with their grand parents.

Dinner was homemade lasagna and a baked ham. There were lots of sides as well. All the food was delicious. We did presents, then dessert. I watched about 15 minutes of basketball today. I’m not a fan, so that will probably be it for me this season.  The drive home was anti-climatic. Weeks and weeks of stress and preparation and the day is nearly over.  I took quite a few pictures today. Some this morning during our family gifting and some this evening at grandma’s house. I will place them at the end in a slide show.

A competitive Christmas? Not for me. I really enjoyed having all the children home. Everybody helped out and behaved. What more could you ask for? Palm trees and shorts, but lets not be greedy. It was nearly 50 degrees today. I hope you and your family had a Merry Christmas or Happy Chanukah or whatever you might be celebrating. Be kind and rewind (MIB II)



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Norad says Manahawkin is next…post 178

Christmas Eve here in New Jersey is a magical time. Maybe it is the wine, maybe the company and the good food. Maybe it is everything. Dinner went on tonight for almost two hours. Most of the time was spent with everybody sitting around and talking. It was fun to watch the boys interact with each other and their parents now that they are adults. For our appetizer we had jumbo lump crab meat placed on a bed of julienned watermelon served on plates shaped like fish. Really! The food network watching is paying off. On the side we had a remoulade sauce. We also had for appetizer fresh mozzarella with balsamic vinegar, shrimp cocktail with cocktail sauce and fresh watermelon cubes.

Dinner was prime rib roast with bake potatoes. We made corn on the cob but forgot to serve it! Maybe I had too much wine. When we figured out that we had forgotten the corn we had already had cookies and fudge for dessert. Oh well. We had a champagne toast with a nice French champagne. A large bottle of Merlot was served with the main course. In the background we had the live feed from the Smokin’ Tuna Saloon in Key West playing. Scott Kirby is doing an acoustic set so far this evening.

Everybody was off today but me. This, as you may have read yesterday, is my one week of support a year. You know what is funny, everyone that called today told me in their message that today was the busiest day of the year. I imagine that they said this to try to convey their urgency to me. I am fully aware that this is the busiest day of the year in the retail liquor industry.  It just makes me laugh. I am not going to call them faster, or sooner because today is Christmas Eve. I am more like the Terminator, I will call them and resolve their problems in a deliberate, efficient manner. Today, tomorrow, whenever.  Not much personality in the support mind-set, just get it done.  Oh, and I missed yoga today. Support was just too hectic.

I am off to do the hot tub hop. I hope that all the liquor stores are closed and that those employees are home celebrating with their families. I will be bringing my laptop to my DW’s grandmother’s house tomorrow. I hope I don’t need it. Tonight’s pictures come from August 2011. I attempted to get the three boys to pose for a picture for our Christmas picture. I was not happy with the results. These might be considered pictures from the cutting room floor. Enjoy!


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Almost time to put out the milk and cookies for post 177..

Well, tomorrow is the big day (for the milk and cookies)!  I am on call tomorrow. Hopefully things are quiet. Or, I will take the calls one at a time as they come in. I will be calm, the customers will not. Everybody smile!  I used to work in the seafood business. Wholesale, retail, it really does not matter. The week before Christmas was always the busiest time of year. Ten years ago I reinvented the wheel by going back to school and getting into the computer business. The company I work for deals primarily with liquor stores. I am again in an industry that is super busy around the holidays. Might be something Freudian in this whole thing.

A quick comment on the titles during the last week. Each nights title is supposed to be something clever. Not just the number of the post. Some nights I hit post instead of preview before I am done cleaning up the blog. Some nights I get to the end and just forget to give the day’s blog a real title. Nights like last night I was completely done and then the last save and preview was totally wrong. I had to redo most of the work last night and the title got lost.

Today was a work from home day for me. My DW as I wrote last night had the day off. DS2 and DS3 were here for most of the day as well. I was busy cleaning up mostly small problems. One of our customers had a computer BSD and then die this afternoon. Fortunately for him his store is about 30 minutes from our office and he was able to borrow a computer to get through the holidays. He is unique in our clients in that he has been and is a test site for our new software and hardware goodies. He got extra attention this afternoon due to that relationship.

DS1 and DS2 went over to Barnegat Light for an hour this afternoon. DS1 went to talk to his employer from the summer. DS2 was pushed out the door to be outside. My mother would have said to us “The sun is shining. Go outside and play and don’t come home until it is dark”. And she ment it. I guess being one of ten children having a few of us out of the house and out of sight made dealing with the younger children easier for her. We also to DS2 “grazing” at COSTCO. If you have a membership, you know what I mean. You go there to eat the snacks and spend 100.00 or more on stuff. For dinner tonight we had fried scallops and fried shrimp. I found a recipe for potato pancakes or latkes in the newspaper. I made them from scratch tonight. They turned out good. I was told that I could make them again.

Tonight’s picture is of Barnegat Inlet. DS1 took this picture while walking around by the Barnegat Lighthouse. Enjoy!


Barnegat Inlet - December 23, 2011

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