15 years, seems like yesterday..

Fifteen years ago today, my mother passed away. She had a battle with pancreatic cancer that she lost.  I miss her each and every day.  As long as I keep her memory alive, she is not gone.

I have lots of pictures at home that I could scan of her, but I am at work.  I Google’d my dead mother, creepy, right?  I think so. I was looking to see if there were any images on the web that I could grab for this post. I did not find any.  I did find the picture below.

Hmmm, Interesting

Happy Veteran’s Day!  Thank a veteran today if you get the chance. Better yet, let’s thank them everyday!

Namaste

 

1940 Census

1940 Census

Checking off another concert..

This past weekend we (DW and I) were in Scranton to see DS2 perform in his last undergraduate Marywood Wind Ensemble concert.  We arrived Saturday afternoon and grabbed DS3 from the clutches of his GF who happened to be A. In Scranton (she lives on Long Island), and B. Heading back to Long Island as we arrived. I must have missed the memo that she was in town.  The concert went well. After the concert I took some pictures of the seniors and the conductor. The Drop Box link to those pictures can be found here.

After the concert and before dinner we went to the Best Western to check into our room for the night. We have stayed at this hotel dozens of times over the last five years. It is relatively cheap, clean enough and not far from Marywood. This time when we arrive the hotel was in chaos. People everywhere, cars parked in the wrong places, just crazy busy. I got my room key and headed to the room. I opened the door to the room and was overpowered by the stench of cigarette smoke. Somehow we were given a smoking room. We don’t smoke. I called the front desk and was told that since we booked through Hotwire they could put us in any room they wanted. And, there were no other non-smoking rooms available. Sucks to be you, have a nice day. Not!

I called Hotwire and got them to cancel the room and book us into the Holiday Inn near the Wiles-Barre – Scranton airport. The hotel was a little further out of town, but it was a step up in cleanliness and customer satisfaction.  Dinner was at Cooper’s Seafood Restaurant with DS2’s GF and her mom who drove drown from upstate New York for dinner.  The food was fine and we had a table out of the way and had plenty of time to talk and visit without the hustle and bustle of the main part of the restaurant.

Sunday morning we went back to Marywood for mass. DS2 plays his trumpet during mass. After mass we went to lunch with the same crew as the night before except for DS3 who “did not know what time” to be there. He stayed in bed Sunday morning. Enjoy college life son, the real world is waiting for you!  The drive home was uneventful except for the various people that seemed blinded by the lack of bad weather and did there best to occupy our space on the highway while we were using it.  Go figure!

Thanks for reading, enjoy the pictures!
Namaste

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.

 

 

 

Swingers? Not exactly..

Life is funny. Sometimes you have to work for the stories that you tell, other times, well, they come to you. Last night we ate dinner at Geiger Key Marina and RV Park.  They bill themselves as “The Backside of Paradise”. This is another of those places that you probably won’t find in a tourist brochure. You should add them to your Lower Keys places to eat. How did we find them? There in lies the story.

About a year and a half ago I started following Barbie Wilson on Twitter. She is the “Sunrise Queen of Key West” @barbiedoll0087 is her Twitter name. She posts a picture of the sunrise and some sunsets from Key West every day of the year.  I fantasize about living in Florida, so this is my way of living vicariously though her pictures. Especially on the cold winter days in New Jersey.

When we came down to Florida last January we, (DW, DS3 and I) met up with her at the Hogfish Grill for lunch.  It was a leap of faith by both of us since we had “met on the internet”. Lunch went well and we have continued to trade twitter messages of the last year. Usually with her posting some epic sunrise or a Key West picture of some sort and me favoriting or commenting on the picture. I’m sure she has quite the following of people around the world that enjoy her pictures.

Last night we arrived at the Geiger Key Marina to meet Barbie for dinner. She was working until 8 pm at the KW Urgent Care.  We arrived first and grabbed a table.  I told the waitress that we were waiting for Barbie to arrive to eat. She gave me the strangest look. I said, yes we know Barbie, I met her on the internet.  The waitress’ look was priceless.  You see, Barbie’s husband running a fishing charter company called Knee Deep Charters out of the same marina. They know her quite well.

Not wanting to cause Barbie trouble at the marina (small town, people talk), I explained our story.  This allowed the waitress to relax a bit. She looked at my DW and I and said, “Maybe I should not say this in front of the kids (DS3 and his GF), but I thought you guys might be swingers..  Umm, we laughed. No, just tourists!  We are in the Lower Keys and that kind of thing probably goes on.  The comment still has us laughing this morning as I write this.

This morning Barbie texted me that the manager of the marina called her to apologise for the swinger comment and that the waitress was in trouble with management.  I told Barbie that we though the evening went great and were not at all offended. 

As a sad  note that gives this blog post a unhappy ending, the waitress lost her job this morning.  That sucks.

Sometimes the stories come to you.

Namaste

 

Is the BS in heaven?

BS is that small, usually stupid, often nagging problem that really does not have to be a problem. Hopefully your days are not peppered with them like a piece of salami.  Set the hook, let it run, then reel like crazy until they are flopping on the deck.  Time to reel.. 

I have been absent from the blog world for the last month. When we last visited we had slogged through a snow storm where the plow drivers were seemingly off for the day to watch the NFL at Buffalo Wild Wings (or their favorite bar). About that time both of the college students were done with classes and heading either home or to visit LI and then head home. On December 14, my DW’s step father in law passed away. Nine days before Christmas. He had been suffering from “Old Man’s Disease” and had pretty much decided he was done and stopped eating. We all attended that wake, funeral and burial.

On December 23, my DW’s mother went in the emergency room since she had not been able to urinate for four days. Back in the fall she was diagnosed with cancer and had “parts” removed. You really don’t need the gory details and out of respect to her and the family, I will gloss over the details.  Suffice it to say, the cancer came back with a vengeance. We were in and out of the hospital between December 23 and January 3 when she died in the hospital. Monday and Tuesday this week were the wake and the burial.

To say we are in shock is an undersatement. I took DS2 back to school this morning. DS3 does not return for a few more weeks. Over their Christmas break, the kids lost their two remaining grandparents. That sucks.

Christmas and New Years?  A complete blur.  I took pictures at Christmas, I will share them when we can get back to that happy place.

We would like to thank the staff of Four East at Ocean Medical Center in Brick, NJ for their excellent care and compassion of our mother (in law)

And we may have found a reasonably local church to attend. The Visitation Church in Brick, NJ provided the priest that said the Last Rites and the deacon that said the prayers at the funeral home. We found a connection to the message that both of them shared with us.

So my parents are in heaven as are hers. I hope they meet up and swap some stories.

Namaste

 

 

Where are the snow plows?..

This is the question.  We spent Saturday night in Scranton visiting with DS2 and DS3. DS3 is in the choir at the University of Scranton and Saturday night was Noel Night. Noel Night (46 th. Annual) is the Christmas Concert for the choir and various musical groups. Various musical groups include a string group (violins and such), a flute choir and a low brass choir. Outside of the Houlihan Center they had a small band playing Christmas carols in the 20 degree temperatures.  As college students at a Jesuit university, I’m sure they found a way to stay warm.

Here are two videos from that night. This first is the choir singing the University of Scranton Alma Matter

And this video is of the last song of the night entitled “The Perfect Rose” The trumpet player is named Mark Gould

 

After the concert we went to Cooper’s Seafood Restaurant in Scranton. I had posted on Facebook that we would be there between 10 pm and midnight Saturday night and offered to buy a drink for anyone that stopped by. I was spared the expense by the cold and late night. Scranton rolls up the sidewalks early.  We had a nice visit with the boys and were out of there by midnight. And, if you remember a previous post where they promised to procure a favorite bottle of rum for me, they forgot or failed since it was not there Saturday night. Oh well.

Sunday morning was breakfast at the Bucktown Diner with the boys and then we headed home while they went to study for finals this week. Or that is what they told us. The ride was uneventful until we got to Ocean County on the Garden State Parkway. The promised “light dusting” of snow turned out to be about 6 – 8 inches and the Parkway authority was unprepared. A forty minute ride took almost three hours and we did not see one snow plow or police car during the entire trip. We did see several tow trucks making their money. I wonder if I can get my toll money refunded since the parkway did not provide the services (snow removal) that my tolls partially pay for. Typical New Jersey, over two or three years you double the tolls and reduce the services.  Not a peep in the local Gannet owned newspaper about the lack of plows or police. I guess they are all in it together.

Did I mention that I played lacrosse last night with DS1 and scored two goals! Yea baby!

Here are links to pictures from the weekend. This link are choir pictures, this link are family pictures and this link is of the winter weather on Sunday.

Namaste

Time to write..

I guess somebody out there is wondering, Dude, no blogs for two and a half weeks and now three in one day?   Well, yes, actually.

We are waiting in the Jersey Shore Hospital family and friends waiting room, surgery suites. My DW, her sister and husband are here as well.  Without details of the who and why, we are here.  Hopefully everything goes well. My immediate family will get an email today with the details. Are you family? Feel free to email me directly.

Ahh, here are a few family pictures. See the captions.

Namaste

 

Off to Scranton..

We went to Scranton a few weeks ago to see the Marywood University Choir. DS2 and his girlfriend are both in the choir. The concert was on a Sunday afternoon.  Our original plan was to travel up Saturday morning, help out with the annual Thanksgiving food basket delivery program run by the university. We have helped out with this charity event for the past three years. Then we were going to visit with some relatives in Scranton, have dinner with the boys and sleep over in Scranton.

Scratch all those plans. Monday I had my stress test.  The stress test went well. No issues. Tuesday I came home from work feeling sick. I was sick Wednesday (from work), Thursday and Friday (vacation days) and Saturday. What a lost week.  Sunday we drove up to Scranton for the concert.  Saw the concert, had a light meal and drove home. The perfect way to get over being sick, drive 400 miles for the day!

The concert was good. The choir performed with the university strings group. Think violins, cellos and such.  There will be several pictures down below from the concert.

No yoga during the sick week. Only one yoga class during Thanksgiving week. Sunday night we went to a free community yoga class. This is where the yoga studio opens the door on the first Sunday of the month for a “free” class.  Each month the class cost is a donation to whatever the charity of the month is. This month the donation was to a local food bank.  There were 18 women in the class and me. Not bad.   I guess I am getting over being sick..

Here are some pictures from the concert.

Namaste

 

Set your intention..

Greetings from foggy Manahawkin tonight.  We spent the weekend between the Manahawkin mansion and the Best Western Plus in Dunmore.  Sound like quite the dichotomy of locations (at least from the titles of the locations). The reality was quite a bit different.  Dunmore, PA is one of the towns that Marywood University can be found in. The other is the city of Scranton, Pa. As long time readers, you would know that DS2 is a student at Marywood. A senior in fact. Graduation, possible grad school and a job are all looming in the not to distant future.

This weekend was all about a Wind Ensemble concert, dinner with the parents and Sunday mass. I guess he may have done some studying and whatever with his friends as well.  We arrived in Dunmore/Scranton at exactly 4 pm. The concert was scheduled to start at 4 pm. My DW had a continuing education class to attend in Atlantic City Saturday morning that caused us to leave for school later than usual.  It was nice to make it in time and not have to enter the concert hall during the show.  The concert went well. We enjoyed, but may not have understood, all the music. I have come to realize that I can enjoy the university level music without understanding it. I am making progress!

After the concert DS2, his GF, DW and I went to Coopers Seafood Restaurant for dinner. For all of you Office fans, Coopers is alive and well six months after the show went off the air. The menus are redone, the food tweaked and the selection of beer (draft and bottled)  is probably unrivaled in the city of Scranton. If you go there, ask for Pat. She is a our favorite waitress. A single mom, our age with a daughter attending Seton Hall Law School after graduating from the University of Scranton. Her daughter was a student of the wife of one of my uncles when she was in elementary school. Talk about a small world.

Saturday night we stayed at the Best Western Plus in Dunmore. They had a party in the “party room” which was under our room. The music stopped at exactly 11 pm. That was great. Sunday we attended mass at Marywood University. As long time readers (same assumption as before) you will know that DS2 plays his trumpet during mass. His GF is in the choir.  A fun thing for me, is that my DW has been welcomed into the choir whenever we are in town. This morning was no exception. It was cool to see my son, my wife and my son’s girlfriend all singing/playing during mass.  I can’t sing. I can however take pictures. Yes, I did.

Sunday after mass we went to the Buck Town diner in Dunmore. Eat here. Simple enough statement.  Elegant, no. Reasonably priced, good tasting food, yes. Good table and kitchen staff, heck yes! We drove home listening to the Cincinnati Bengals playing football on Sirius. They absolutely sucked in the first quarter and could do no wrong for the rest of the game.  The final outcome being a resounding win for the Bengals.

Tonight we went to gentle yoga with Gabby at Hot or Not Yoga in Manahawkin.  Tonight’s class was the perfect cap to this crazy weekend. Dinner was flank steak, red wine and mashed potatoes. DS1 was over for dinner. He was off from work for a few days and spent the weekend at home. Tomorrow he heads back to his apartment and off to work on Tuesday.

Me, I have a stress test with my cardiologist  tomorrow morning. Then I will work from home and probably go to a hot yoga class Monday night.

I hope you enjoyed living in my shoes for the weekend. I will add some pictures below.

Here is a link to the Wind Ensemble concert pictures.

Here is a link to the Sunday Mass pictures.

 

Thanks for reading.

Namaste

 

Good and Evil Chocolate..

The holidays are coming. Maybe you want to get something for that foodie on your list. Odd, unusual, but still edible. No sense getting them something that they won’t ever eat. That would just be a waste of money.  My DW and I discovered the Anthony Bourdain show, Parts Unknown last season. The show airs on CNN on Sunday nights, 9 pm eastern. Do yourself a favor if you like travel shows, gaudy cinematography and an outspoken host, see this show. Set up the DVR and set aside an hour of your life.  Will it be the best hour of your life, maybe not, but it is always interesting.

Last season they did a show based in Peru. Part of the episode was spent with Anthony and several other men searching for the elusive Peruvian Pure Nacional cacao beans. These are the type of beans that chocolate is made from.  Watch the episode and learn about cacao farming in the Andes. The chocolate that is produced from these rare beans is available for purchase (not on Amazon, believe it or not) on the internet. The Eclat Chocolate website can be found here.

Expensive? Yes. Good, absolutely! We saw the episode and were intrigued by the people and process of the farming and the harvesting.  We got our bar via the brown truck today. At this point tonight, the bar is half gone. I think I will hide the second half so we have a treat for tomorrow night.  We we buy another bar? Probably not. We don’t have money like that.

Enough said.  Maybe you might find one of these chocolate bars under your Christmas (holiday) tree.

Namaste

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