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.

 

 

 

Passing the time..

Life seems to have settled down during the last two weeks from the go – go -go last few months.  Vacation season for us is mostly over and the spring gardening season is trying it’s best to not arrive.  Last weekend it rained for three days with our northern neighbors getting snow. Maybe we can ship some of this excess water to California.  They have quite the drought going on out there.

I have been back to playing lacrosse on Monday and some Wednesday nights. Monday nights are far more competitive than Wednesday nights. The real attraction to playing on Wednesday is that DS1 also plays. Sometimes we are on the same team, some times not. Playing against him makes my game better.  This past Monday night I scored three goals in the last fifteen minutes of the game. I spent the first 45 minutes trying to catch the ball and not succeeding. Something clicked during the last fifteen minutes and I caught the ball and scored three times. The rest of the “older crowd” was excited for my success.

I have been visiting my deceased MIL’s house about once a week for the last few months.  I start her car, walk around the house making sure that the doors and windows are all intact.  So far so good.  Visiting there is like living through a post apocalyptic movie. By that I mean on December 23, the world stopped at her house. The calendars all say December. The towels in the bathroom are of the Christmas motif. The decorations, such that they are, Christmas. On her dresser is a birthday card for one of her grandsons. He would have received that card on Christmas.   Next to that card are several cards that the daughters would have received at Christmas.  The car sits in the driveway. It has not been off the street where she lived since at least December 3. The clocks are all on Eastern Standard time, Daylight Savings time never arrived.   The whole scene is just plain eerie.

This weekend we are on the road again. DS2 has his last Wind Ensemble concert as a Marywood University undergraduate.  Graduation is on Mothers Day. It is hard to believe how fast time passed since I took him to the university to audition for a spot at the school.

Pictures, I have a few.. (sung to the tune of Bohemian Rhapsody)..

Namaste

 

Tampa trip wrap up..

I think I have covered the entire five days in various blogs. As I look back I have missed a few things that may be of interest.  Missing from the Clearwater, Florida is a video that I shot of a street performer.  Here is that video

Monday we traveled home from Tampa to Philadelphia. When we landed in Raleigh – Durham Airport we found out that our flight from RDU to PHL was cancelled. We learned this as we stood on the jet way waiting for our  gate checked luggage to arrive. We flew on one of those regional jets that have no overhead space. While we are waiting one of the passengers that had flown first class was complaining that his bag did not come up in the first group. He said, I’m flying first class!  The gate attendant was not impressed.

Seems he was traveling to PHL as well. I said my flight to PHL is cancelled, he said same here. Then a college age girl came up the jet way and asked about the flight. Cancelled I said. She said why?  I told her that I don’t know why. And really, what difference does it make? You won’t be able to convince someone to un-cancel the flight. The most important thing at that point is to find the next flight before your fellow passengers do. There are not an unlimited number of seats.

I called the Delta 1 800 number and went into a queue, call me back in 10 minutes. I looked over at the counter and saw the attendant finish up with all the customers that had been standing there. I walked over and explained my problem. She took care of my re-booking and gave both of us 20 dollars for lunch and dinner since we were going to be stuck for a while.  We went to a white table-cloth restaurant and ate good on Delta’s dime.

The flight home was uneventful as was the drive to the shore.  I hope you enjoyed the trip, we sure did!

Namaste

 

Tampa Sunday..

We went to Davis Island in Tampa to look at houses and eat breakfast. We had eaten at our hotel the previous days and wanted something “better”  We ate at an Irish Restaurant on Davis Island. We ate outside at a picnic table. My meal was slightly interrupted when the children that had been eating decided to play Frisbee in the parking lot. They could have used more adult supervision since the Frisbee hit me in the back of my head while I was eating.  I don’t think the parents even knew. Hum and smile, throw it back and keep eating.

The homes in the area start at 775 k and go up. This is a pretty exclusive area and near Tampa General Hospital. I would image that a fair number of the doctors and administrators live there.  But, we can dream, and dream we did. By the way, the most recent lottery tickets were a total bust!

We drove north after eating and touring Davis Island with our final destination being Crystal River, Florida. We were told about an excellent fish market and seafood restaurant. We did not have anything planned and we had a nice new rental car, so we went for it. The toll road had a plaza every 10 to 12 miles (60 mile drive). Maybe they could charge a little more and not make us stop so frequently.

While driving we looked on Trip Advisor (my DW, not me, I was driving) and discovered that the restaurant got bad reviews. We stopped by anyway and found the fish market closed and a line at the door to the restaurant. The top rated seafood restaurant was just up the road so we changed plans. The top rated seafood restaurant was in a mall food court. Really! We went in and walked past and kept going. They need to vet these reviews a little better. We did get some ice cream before leaving the mall.  On the way back to Tampa we purchased a Sun Pass for the car. Sun Pass is like EZ Pass in the north-east. You pre-pay the tolls and can drive through the toll plaza without stopping.

Sunday evening found us back in Tampa for outdoor yoga. Hixon Park in downtown Tampa is where they have a free yoga class on Sunday evening. The park has a terraced area that the students can lay their mats on and the instructor is at the bottom. This was really cool. Check this off as another great, free, outdoor yoga venue.

Here is a Drop Box link to all the yoga pictures.

I will post a few down below.

Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Namaste

 

Tampa Saturday..

The current (one of the) joke around our home is to say to the other person “How about we go to the Farmer’s Market in Ybor City on Saturday?” This is a good line to make the other person smile if they are having a particularly bad day.  Just don’t over use it! So you can guess that the Saturday when we were in Tampa we went to the Farmer’s Market in Ybor City. It is like most farmer’s markets, except that this one is in Florida.

We headed out of our room into the fog (second day in a row) and headed across Tampa to Ybor City. Ybor City is the Cuban and Latin quarter of Tampa. They used to have factories producing cigars in Ybor City. Then most of the industry left and the area went to hell. Over the last ten or 20 years the area has been revitalized.

This particular Saturday also was the Annul Ybor City Flan Festival. In addition to the farmer’s market they closed the streets and the food vendors and such came out to hawk their wares. We happened upon the Flan Festival last year. This year we planned to be in Tampa the same weekend as the Flan Festival. What is Flan?  Here is a Wiki link that should explain it.  We skipped the flan but we collected beads and some of the local foods.  It rained for about ten minutes. Typical Florida weather, the rain starts and stops whenever.

Here is a link to the Drop Box folder containing all the pictures from Ybor City.

Here are a few highlights from the morning

Thanks for reading

Namaste

 

 

No, no, no and no, but maybe yes..

Nonsense of a title. Wednesday started off slow. It was nearly noon time before the “kids” were awake and moving around. They were scheduled to fly back to Philadelphia on Wednesday but, we decided to postpone their flight home by a day due to the 14 + inches of snow that fell in Philadelphia. That went along with single digit temperatures. Neither of them had anywhere to go, so why go fly into that mess any sooner than necessary.  This gave them a “free or extra” day in Florida.

Noon time they surfaced and we were ready to go out and do one of two different things. They needed to shower and dress for the day. We (DW and I) decided to wait by the pool for them. We walked out and sat down by the pool and both quickly came to the conclusion that spending the day in and around the pool was probably the best idea for the day. It was chilly, but the pool was heated and the sunshine warmed the pool deck nicely.

That is what we did. We stayed and played in the pool and the hot tub for the entire afternoon.  We caught the sunset from our room and went out to a local restaurant for dinner. Simple and easy, just like a vacation should be.

Here are some pictures from the day by the pool. Enjoy!

No driving, no walking, no problems, pool? Why yes!

Namaste

Florida Lacrosse Classic 2014..

The tournament is over for 2014. The only thing left to do is the team dinner tonight at the Carolina Ale House. It should be a good time watching Seattle loose (my prediction or hope) and swapping stories from the last three days of games. I played for the Ohio Wesleyan University alumni team. This year the team competed in the 45 +, the 50 + and the 55 + categories. I signed up to play with the 45 + team. I am eligible for the 50 + team. but I wanted to be able to walk on Monday. As it was, I played in two games on Friday, four games on Saturday (2 ea 45 + and 50+), and one game on Sunday. The 50 + team needed players on Saturday.

Our 45 + team went 1 win and 4 looses. The first loss was a blow out, the second was by one point, the third was in OT and the fourth loss was by one point. I played well. Some good stuff, some ugly stuff. I had a good time. My DW, DS3 and GF spent two straight days at the fields. We would arrive for a 9 am game and leave at 7:30 pm after a day of lacrosse and an hour plus of tailgating in the parking lot.

My DW shot pictures of the games that I played in, I shot the games that I watched from the sidelines. At this point we have over 5200 pictures to sort though and set up for file sharing with the team.

Injuries? I did fairly well. I have only one bruise to share. I stepped in front of a shot and saved a goal. In this tournament I went back to playing defense since the team is heavy in the attack department. I could play middie, there is always room there. I am just not cut out for running up and down the field and back.

The weather has been cool. Mid 40’s in the early am and mid 60’s later in the day.Sunny, you bet! I have been best friends with the sunscreen.

Thanks for reading!

Namaste

Bruise on my hip from the shot I stepped in front of. Ouch!

Bruise on my hip from the shot I stepped in front of. Ouch!

 

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

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