Personal experiences wanted..

Or maybe some advice if you are “in the business”

Here is the picture..

My DW and I stopped in Bloomfield on Sunday on our way home from visiting the college boys in Scranton. Bloomfield is where her mom (and dad) are buried. Her father died in 1972. If you follow this blog you will know that her mom died January 3, 2014. Recently, for sure.  This was the first time that we have been back since the graveside service on January 7, 2014.  That day was bitterly cold. The whole winter has been cold and nasty here in New Jersey.  We attended the service, placed our flowers and were happy (kind of) to get out of the wind and into our warm vehicles.

When we got to the cemetery on Sunday, the gravesite was partially filled in with dirt and the remnants of the flowers from that day in January were sitting there on top. It would appear that in the last four months nothing has happened to the gravesite. There is a secondary grave stone of her fathers’ that tells about his service in the Marine Corps. This stone is still pushed out-of-the-way where they moved it four months ago, when they opened the gravesite to bury her mom.

The question is this, should they have cleaned up the remnants of the flowers and filled the grave in to grade level already? I agree that the winter has been a harsh one but the snow and cold have seeming subsided of the last month.  As we looked around the cemetery on Sunday there four or five groups of people tending to the gravesite of their loved ones. The trash barrels were over flowing.  Are we expected to go back, level the ground, reposition the secondary stone and put down topsoil and grass seed?

The funeral bill had an expense for the opening of the grave, should there have been an expense for the closing of the grave?  It was really discouraging to me to see the apparent neglect in the cemetery. Do I bitch or wait?  My plan is to stop by this Sunday after riding in the Tour De Staten Island with some top soil, grass seed and a shovel and rake and straighten things out.

My parents were placed in a  mausoleum so I don’t have any real world experience in this matter.

Thanks for reading and commenting if you see fit.

Pictures?  Yes, but not of the gravesite.




2012 in review or Happy New Years!

First off, to those that have read and visited my blog, THANK YOU!  Yes, I’m shouting. 

Below is the end of the year report that detail where you are all from, how many times you visited, or if you have been naughty or nice.


The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 10,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 17 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Sunset Park in Harvey Cedars, NJ looks good for post 102..

Saturday evening has arrived here in NJ. The Indian Summer has made its appearance today and forecast for tomorrow and maybe beyond? In plain english, it was nice and warm today.  We went to LBI for lunch today. We wanted to eat at Boulevard Clams , but it looked like they were closed for the season. So we went across the street to Okies Butcher Shop for sandwiches. They had real good-looking roast beef so we both got sandwiches. Mine with cheese, her’s without cheese. We added some red skin potato salad and we were all set. Since we were on LBI we decides to visit Sunset Park in Harvey Cedars. We found an empty picnic table by the bay and had a nice lunch by the water.

A Boy Scout troop was camping in the park. Note to my brother the weather man, if you are looking for a soft first camping experience you should look into camping in the park. He is involved with a scout troop up north and they go camping quite often. I would guess that the new school year/ new scouting year, would include new parents and children that may have never camped. Camping in Harvey Cedars in the off-season next to the rest rooms on the bay with the ocean across the street might be a good way to ease those new campers into a tent.  

After lunch we went back home. I worked in the yard for a few hours. I cut the grass for the last time this year (hopefully) I ran the lawn mower out of gas to end the season. Each spring, I have to take the mower to get it fixed since it won’t start. Each year they tell me to run it dry (out of gas) before putting it away for the winter. Stop by this blog next May and we’ll both see how that advice worked out.  I picked the last of the tomatoes off the vines. All the vines were dead, there were some green tomatoes left. The green tomatoes are sitting on the back porch table ripening (maybe).  I pulled the dead plants and the stakes. I watered and fed the fall crop of lettuce that does not seem to be growing very fast. I have never had any success with the fall romaine crop. We will have to see how this one does. In about five weeks it should be too cold for even the romaine. 

We turned up the heat in hot tub today and purchased some fireplace logs for the chimenea. The old folks will be dipping tonight.  College boys checked in to some extent today. DS1 was absent from the text traffic. DS2 said that today was Super Saturday at Marywood. This is where the music therapy department has a free day for the locals who use the music therapy process. The attendees get to enjoy some interaction with the outside world, the students get practice working with their potential clients and the care givers get an hour or two off. It would seem to be a win-win for everybody involved.  The previous Music Therapy Chair started this years ago and it is nice to see that the new person in charge is continuing the program.  DS3 was doing school work mid-day. He was advised by his parents to go outside and get so fresh air. The studying is admirable and we want him to keep working hard but, you must have some fun or the pressure of being is school will eat you up.

Today’s pictures are in two forms. One is a link to the (snapfish) page where I posted our pictures from yesterday’s sail. Or you can see one picture right here.  And yes we mathch (red shirts/top), it was not planned.  Oh, one more thing, I really had fun adding the Hyper links tonight, LOL.


On the boat

Like a spinning 78 rpm (post) record..

Are you old enough to know what a 78 rpm record is? Do you know what a record is? Ok, do you care?  Fair enough. (Story alert) When I was much younger, I was in the Boy Scouts. Our troop had a cabin in the woods in North Jersey. Each weekend we would go camping at the cabin.  First we might have to collect newspapers and aluminum cans to take to the scrap yard. This was in the days before the town did the recycling. We would collect bottles, cans and newspapers from various neighborhoods and then take them to the scrap place and get cash to pay the troop’s expenses. Then we would go home, grab our gear for the weekend and be gone until Sunday night.

In the cabin was an old 78 rpm record player. Since we did not have electricity out the woods, the phonograph was a wind up model in a big ornate wood cabinet. Sometimes we would play the Sousa marches on the phonograph. The troop cabin succumbed to a fire when I was about 15 years old. We spent the next three years trying to rebuild. The years I spent every weekend away from home in the woods were some of the best times of my life. Imagine being one of ten kids and having a way to escape to the woods every weekend of the year. How does that commercial go, priceless..

Soft Taco Bake

Back to present time, life marches on. My DW and I walked around the park a few times today before dinner. It is getting dark earlier and after dinner might not work due to mosquitos.  Dinner was a Soft Taco Bake.  It is like having tacos with tortillas, but you use a knife and fork to eat it. DS3 had “some ramen thingy” for dinner. Unlimited meals, choices, he eats a “ramen thingy” I texted him at 5 pm looking for a picture for tonight’s blog, he said he had already eaten. 5 pm, done with dinner. I hope they have late night food at his school. He has campus choir tonight. DS2 tried to send me a picture, something went wrong. He has wind ensemble tonight. Hopefully his picture will be available for tomorrow.  DS1  said he was working the soccer game on campus. He sent this picture of his dinner. 

Working the soccer game


Keeping up with the trend of this blog, I offer for your enjoyment this picture from my lunch. I had a coupon for two dogs for the price of one at the Windmill in Belmar, NJ. I took my dogs to go and ate by the beach in Belmar. Here is the picture.  Other than the food journey for the day, not much more to report. We did see the Harvest Moon last night while we were on the beach. The camera in my phone was not able to capture a decent picture. I wish I had brought my good camera. Good night moon.


The lost idea, now found in post 100..

For my 100 th post I have hopefully pulled out all the stops. This one has been sitting in the finish me pile for awhile.

Sunset over a Lake

The poem, The Cremation of Sam McGee was first told to me many years ago my Boy Scout leader, George Gimble. Maybe poetry is not your thing, I can’t say it is mine. But the story behind the telling of the poem is where the magic resides.  To get you to click on the link, I have copied the  first stanza of the poem, here goes..

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
    By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
    That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
    But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
    I cremated Sam McGee.

Ok, how can you resist that opening stanza?  The poem was written by Robert W. Service in 1907. 

So, lets set the stage for this story. The back story if you will. I was in the Boy Scouts from age 11 when they would take me until after the age of 18 when I aged out. The scout master of the troop was a man named George Gimble. George lived with his parents and two sisters when I met him. Over the course of the years his parents passed away as did one of his sisters. One of his sisters may still be alive today. The sisters were world-famous concert pianists. I remember seeing posters on the wall of their house announcing the piano concerts featuring one or both of the sisters. George never married. He was a chemical engineer for General Foods in White Plains, NY for most or all of his life.

So, as one of the ten children in our home, having the ability to escape for a weekend, a week at summer camp or three weeks back country camping in Canada, was priceless. I took advantage of every opportunity I was presented with to go camping and get out of the house.  One of those opportunities was a yearly three-week camping trip into the back country of Algonquin Provincial Park, in Ontario, Canada. To be eligible for these trips you would need to be of a certain rank and have volunteered your time during the year for the various troop fundraisers. The trip took us by canoe about 100 miles from end to end. We would canoe in from the most tourist accessible boat ramp and canoe and portage until we were about as deep as we could go in the park and still get back to civilization in ten days.

The term “portage” means in this context to pick up your canoe and hike a mile or more over land to the next lake. As you might imagine (or not), not all of the lake were connected by water. Each portage would require at least two full round trips by each person to get all the canoes and supplies across. The backpacks were military grade, waterproof monsters that really dug into your back. Some days carrying the canoe was a better trade-off (if you got a trade-off). Everything we ate or needed except for water was carried in the canoes and backpacks. Towards the end of the trip, the food and provision packs got quite light. There were no garbage cans so you either burned your trash or carries it out.   Obviously there were no bathrooms, sinks, cell phones. This was before the age of iPod s and mp3 players. If you had a Sony Walkman, you came from a wealthy family.

When you were “in country” you were isolated from the rest of the world. If anything important happened, you might find out if the people traveling in had information and they shared it with you. On one of these trips we learned five days after the fact that Richard Nixon had resigned. We learned this from fellow travelers on a portage two days before the end of our trip. Days came early in country and night-time came early as well. We had few flashlights, batteries were heavy and after 10 days they were mostly burned out. Camp fires were an every night routine.  Food was cooked over the fire, dishes washed in the lake. Bathrooms dug in the wood before it got too dark.  There was a real sense of comrade between the travelers. I guess the shared hardship and overcoming those hardships truly built a team. This is one of the premises that we learn about when studying the building of teams that combine varied different team members.

Each night, maybe most nights, after the dinner chores were done, we campers would gather around the campfire for warmth and light. While it was the first three weeks in August, the chance for snow was not out of the question. Nor was the chance for 90 degree weather, either. As a matter of fact, I saw both during the four years I made that trip.  So, time to set the stage…

We would be sitting around the campfire, maybe eight to ten campers including the Scout Master. Being the young adults that we were, there certainly would have been some chop busting and talk about girls and such. The sun would have set. The sky, absolutely filled with stars. The loons would be calling each other across the lake. Click on the loon calling link and close your eyes, imagining that you are sitting by a campfire in the wilderness of Canada. You have not seen anyone else for two days of paddling and portaging. The fireflies are dancing in the woods and the stars are shining, I mean really shining, up above. The loons keep calling. The the scout master says, “Boys, I’m going to tell you a poem, written about the Canadian wilderness by a man called Robert W. Service.  Each of us are attentive, since anything new and different  ruled the day.

After the poem was over we would sit and watch the fire, imagining what it had been like to be in th Yukon during the turn of the century. Then the talk would resume about girls and cars. Slowly we would hear off to our tents, the next day was coming fast.