Halloween 2013 – Jersey Shore edition..

No, not that Jersey Shore edition!  I’m sure that there was or will be an episode like that. But this is not it. We however have pictures and video from Halloween 2013.

We don’t have small children anymore. If you follow this blog, you already know that. Halloween used to be a huge event here at our house. We would spend the better part of October building a haunted maze on the front lawn complete with scary effects, fog machines, strobe lights, music, you name it, we had all kinds of crazy stuff.  Then, the kids grew up, life got more hectic and the Halloween tradition of the crazy maze in the front yard stopped. We still have all the stuff, maybe next year.  I have one more epic display to do.

We both got home from work around 5:30 pm so we missed the smaller children.  As a matter of fact, we must have missed most of the children.  It was pretty quiet around here.  I took some pictures that I will share at the bottom.

I also went to the Belmar boardwalk to look around and shoot some video. I posted the video on YouTube and will re-post it here.

Enjoy the pictures and the video




Blowing off a little steam, Chicago style..

We were in Chicago for the Columbia College of Chicago’s Graduate Open House.  The trip to and the actual open house can be found at http://limeguy50.com  This blog is about DS2 and I being tourists for a few hours before crashing at the hotel and flying home on Sunday.

The first stop after we left the school was the Navy Pier on Lake Michigan. They have restaurants, bars, boats and in the warm weather, they have an amusement park with rides. Saturday was not a warm day. It was windy (Windy City) and chilly. I think we saw some snow flakes even. We parked the car, called my DW and gave her the lowdown on the open house. Then DS2 and I walked the pier and took pictures. I wanted to stop for a beer but it was cold and that beer would have gone in and right back out.  And, we had an early dinner, late lunch stop planned and I wanted to save my appetite for the next stop.

We walked and played tourist. Then we paid 25 dollars for parking at the pier. One price fits all. Park for an hour or a day, all the same price. When you see the pictures from the pier, enjoy them, they were expensive.  I never got to stick my foot in Lake Michigan. That was one of the goals, but the pier was way to high above the water to reach down and stick something into the water. And, I did mention that it was cold.

After the pier we drove through a GPS blind spot in the city. The GPS had us going in circles. Just as we would come to the next turn, the GPS would grey out like we were in a tunnel then the picture would start to spin in random directions. DS2 loaded the address into his phone and between them, we found our way. How silly.

Our destination was Shaw’s Crab House. One side of the business is a very upscale steak and seafood restaurant. The other side is the Oyster Bar. That was our destination. We sat down and enjoyed oysters, sushi and fried calamari. We did appetizers for dinner.  The table next to us ordered the two most expensive appetizers on the menu. She had the Florida Stone Crab claws (64 dollars a pound) and he had the fresh Red King Crab served chilled with a mustard sauce (65 dollars a pound). Add the a martini for each and tip and you are in the 175 dollar neighborhood and you have not yet eaten dinner. Yikes!  Our oysters and sushi were outstanding.  One of the sushi we had was called a Godzilla roll. At Shaw’s that sushi comes with BBQ Smoked Eel.  Just a little slice like an archive. You could pick it off the top but then you miss a unique and delicious flavor.

I had couple of local brewed beers, DS2 drank water. I think he was pretty beat at that point in the day.  When you ask where the bathroom was, the standard answer was make a right, walk past “death row” and you will see the doors on the right. “Death row” was the four tanks of live lobsters that were waiting for the chance to grace some bodies plate.  The bathrooms were upscale, everything was upscale.  Dinner, eat here is you can afford it. If not, try the Oyster Bar. Not cheap by any means, but less expensive than the main restaurant.

After we ate we followed that same GPS back to our hotel.  At that point we were both beat. DS2 had some reading to do for school, so I went down to the bar for a drink and to watch some college football. 

Here is a link to all the picture from our trip. I will include a few below. Thanks for reading!



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.



The best times in life are often unscripted..

It is snowing here in New Jersey this evening. We got to leave work early today due to the inclement weather. That was nice. We had a power outage this morning at work and also lost the internet and phones for a short while. I guess the patch job that was done might have a few kinks to be worked out. The linemen will have months more of work after Sandy. My MIL got her power back on yesterday around 5 pm.  She was without power for eight days.  She lives in one of the most densely populated parts of Ocean County. Just imagine how much longer she might have waited if she lived out in the sticks. Yes, there really are “out in the sticks” areas in New Jersey. NJ is not just what you see driving down the turnpike or the parkway.

I forgot to mention that Monday night was the official Halloween Day in NJ. The governor postponed Halloween last week due to the damage from Sandy.  We had many, probably an average year, trick or treaters visit our house. I heard the night ended early. I was of course, off playing lacrosse in the dark.

Tuesday (yesterday) was: A. My DW’s birthday and B. Election Day 2012. Let’s tackle Election Day first. I worked the election again this year. We had to be on site at 5:15 am and ready to rock by 6 am. The polls closed at 8 pm. Then we have to break down the voting machines and do all the “stuff” that ensures that the votes are protected and delivered to the municipal clerk for tabulation. That makes for an easy 15 hour day.  We were busy.  There were 30 or more people that rushed in at 6 am to vote. And the waves of voters kept coming all day.  I worked with a good group of people. We had fun, but I was pretty beat by the end of the night.

After the election was over, my DW and I went out for some wings and a beer (or two). The beer was medicinal. My back was sore and the beer made that problem go away.  At the bar we had a beer and a cider and toasted my DW’s birthday. I’m sorry to say, due to my being at the polling place all day, I did not have a good party planned for her. I will do better next time (or maybe this weekend). While we were sitting at the bar, the bar started to fill up with 20 somethings and a musician started playing music that was appropriate for their age.

The group next to us, four girls and one guy we out celebrating his 25 th birthday. We congratulated him and toasted his and my DW’s birthdays.  A little while later one of the girls went up to the musician requested Happy Birthday. So, everybody in the bar sang to this guy and my DW. I spoke to the girlfriend of the birthday boy and gave her 20 dollars towards his birthday bar bill. She was driving last night. A few minutes later they bought two shots of something they called “Birthday Cake”. A shot and a slice of lemon coated in sugar.

My DW and the birthday boy did their shot and then sucked on the lemon. Everybody laughed and smiled. The bar by now was packed and quite noisy. We, the old people, figured it was time to go home so when we left we congratulated the birthday boys once more and he gave my DW a hug. It was a pretty cool, spontaneous night. We figured a beer and some wings and wound up with a birthday party. Unscripted.

Pictures, pictures. Here are a picture of the snow on my way home from work. Enjoy!


Snow in Wall, NJ

Wednesday tradition..

Some Wednesday’s at least. Any good tradition requires a bit of an effort, sometimes.  I seem to have fallen into a tradition of a mid-week photo shoot in the area near my job.  Some weeks I walk and take pictures, other days, I have a moment of brilliance that disappears and I just go shoot the pictures anyway.  The local natural gas company dug up the shoulder of Route 34 near my job this summer to replace a gas main. They decided that this week they would mill the shoulder down an inch or so and re-pave. Nice plan, they could have started after rush hour on Monday. That would have shown some forethought.

After sitting in traffic Monday and watching them re-pave the highway Tuesday, I got to thinking that there might be some pictures in this paving project. The ride to work this morning was courtesy of the Bruce Springsteen channel on Sirius. There were several “working on the highway” type songs to further reinforce the idea. However, the construction crew was either finished, or taking the day off.  That kind of killed that photo shoot before it even started.

Time for a new idea as I drove down the highway (headed nowhere, I might add)at lunch time. Then the tree colors got me thinking about signs of fall in the greater Wall area.  Fair enough, what would some of those signs be? A trip to Hink’s Turkey Farm (we saw this last year), a trip down to the beach, some front yard Halloween decorations and a few trees in the middle of changing colors.  As Captain Picard would say, “Make it so!” And I did. Below are a few of the 65 pictures that I shot today.

Here is a link to see all the pictures via Drop Box.  https://www.dropbox.com/sh/8bhap0ddcz7z9sn/8FDFzdoqif




Forecast low of 59 degrees tonight..

Wow, that was some cold front Saturday night. The air conditioning is off and the window fans are running. It should be a good night sleeping weather wise. Tonight’s dinner was Sunday chicken parmigiana. I’m not Italian, but I can conjure up some Italian when I am cooking in the kitchen.  One of my fondest memories of the kids growing up was cooking Sunday night dinner. We would usually start around 5 o’clock. Feats at Five would be playing on the radio. I would have one or two of the children helping me cook. 

One of the children’s favorite meals to cook was chicken parmigiana. I would let the hammer the chicken cutlets until they were paper-thin. Then they would make the egg wash and fill a bowl with bread crumbs. I would heat the oil until the correct temperature was achieved then they would dip the chicken in the bread crumbs, then the egg wash, the back into the bread crumbs finally placing the breaded cutlet into the hot oil. They got better at the last part pretty quickly! When the chicken was cooked we would put cheese and sauce on top and place them in the oven to melt the cheese.  We always made enough for two meals. The kids would eat the leftovers after school or some night when dinner was every man for themselves.

No helpers tonight. I did get some help from DS1 this afternoon. Today I started the waterproofing project in basement. There are a few steps (as I see it). The first step is to clean the cinder blocks that are to be painted with the waterproof paint. The next step is clean out and patch any and all cracks. The final step would be two or three coats of waterproof paint. DS1 used a power drill and an attachment that is like a wire brush, but circular. He ran this over the blocks to be painted removing the loose paint and other junk. I worked along the base where the wall meets the floor. This is where we saw water seeping in.

I use a chisel to remove the paint, the loose cement and other junk. I have about 20 feet of the wall base cleared. I have another 20 or so feet to go. There are pictures at the bottom.  I’m glad I don’t do this for a living.

DS2 worked on homework today. One of his classes is music history. This class required him to listen to three hours of chants today. Better him than me. DS3 worked on school work as well. He is fighting a cold. He sounded better tonight than Friday night.  Tomorrow everybody is back to work.  We grew pumpkins last year. After they finally rotted, we threw them in the compost pile. This year those seeds grew a new pumpking plant. We got three decent sized pumpkins this year. In the picture below, they are on the kitchen table.

Tonight’s pictures have captions. Enjoy!



Day 189, strolling down memory lane..

The last 24 hours have been challenging to say the least. Today is (was) Wednesday, January 4, 2012. Last night DS2 stopped by the couch and we went over the books he needs for the spring semester. We price shopped several websites. The final total was 500.00. Yesterday before I came home from work I dropped my car off at the shop due to the power steering fluid leaking. Truth be told, it has been leaking since October. That bill came in at 350.00 today. And, just to make me smile, at 4 pm my DW called me at work to tell me that there was water in the basement.

My favorite words to hear while I am at work, “Honey, there is water in the basement”. I left work early needless to say. I walked her through turning off the supply from the town. She put towels down to mop up the water. When I got home DS3 and I continued the cleanup while she went to yoga. I found the problem, but my plumbing skills are far worse than my carpentry skills.  I called the plumber at 4 pm when I got the call. He returned the call around 7:30. He will be out first thing in the morning.  One more bill, one more bill, chant with me…

First thing in the morning I am taking DS2 to the eye doctor an hour away. First thing in the morning my DW will need to be on the floor ready to work, 7 am. I guess one of the other two inhabitants will be up at 8 am to greet the plumber.  In the cleaning of the water and mess I had to move some filing cabinets and “stuff” that DS1 brought home from college. Most of that stuff has not been touched or looked at in 5 years. It needs to head to the dumpster. When the cellar gets put back together you can be assured that the garbage cans will be full.

In the pile I found an old hard drive. I worked this past summer going through hard drives in the cellar, saving the good and formating them when I was done. This one had escaped detection. After loading it on my laptop through an adaptor, I found four backups from January 2006. I saved them off on my laptop and then went looking. As my mother in law would say, Oh My!. I have pictures and emails going back to 1998. A lot of these pictures I have saved on my Snapfish website, but I had lost track of the originals. They are are back.

I posted five pictures on Facebook this evening. I tagged a few people and invited the other characters in the pictures to tag themselves. I have been looking for some original material for the picture of the day. I would say that I have found the mother lode. I haven’t looked at but maybe 5 % of the material so far. 

In this sideshow you will see the Halloween spectacular that we did in 2005. I had posted earlier pictures from a different year. These pictures are much better and give a clearer view of the madness that we created. I hope you enjoy them.  


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Post 127 Halloween sugar rush..

It is Wednesday night here in New Jersey.  We were reflecting at dinner tonight about the lack of trick o’ treater’s again this year. Each year we scale back the amount of candy we purchase since we always seem to have leftovers. With no kids at home to help with the leftovers, their consumption falls on us old folks. And, you can rightly guess, we don’t need to be eating candy. We purchased three snack bags of candy with a coupon at the grocery store. We opened two of the bags, Kit Kats and Hershey’s Bars, leaving the Reeses unopened. Of the 28 or so available candies, we gave away about 15 – 18. There was an early rush of small children, but then the older children, say 11 – 15 never came by. Granted we left the house at 7:15 to go to yoga, but we left the candy on the porch. None of the candy we left out was taken.

Story Alert: Back in the old days when we had Halloween age children, we used to create a huge Halloween display on the front lawn. Compete with tunnels, fog, strobe lights, creatures, you name it, we had something like it. Our children, especially the youngest would work very hard with me for during the two weeks that it took to set up the display. This picture is from 2004, our last year.

Halloween 2004

Why did we stop? I’m not really sure. Things must have gotten busy or something during the fall of 2005. After that, the spell was broken, never to be reinvented. In this picture you can see my DW standing in the fog next to the altar. This was supposed to be similar to a scene from one of the Indiana Jones movies.  In the foreground you can barely see the graveyard that was constructed in the front yard. The county has a recycling area where you can get mulch and compost. We made the grave yard out of compost. After Halloween, the compost got moved into the garden for the next growing season.

Work was busy for me. Filled with the usual poor decisions that turn into emergencies. I’m sure you know the type. My DW had a full day of work as well. She survived the doctor-less month of October. Now I think the doctors that were on vacation will be busy to pay for their vacations. Children, not much happening here. I had little or no contact today so far with them. That is ok, I will get some face time Saturday and Sunday.  And, that damm song is still stuck in my head.

Another picture from Halloween 2004.

Halloween 2004

This was the view down the tunnel to the room pictured above. Notice the walls and other spooky effects..Enjoy!


Stuck in my head like a Steve Martin arrow (post 126)..

If you are from my generation, no further explanation is necessary. If not, you can click here to see a clip from You Tube.  And, just in case you don’t know who Steve Martin is, there is little or no hope for you. You could do a google search, go to Wikipedia or ask your parents (gasp).  Steve Martin is not that guy who played his banjo last year during the Capital Fourth as seen on Public Television stations across the country. That Steve Martin was somebody different for sure. He looked like he got older or something.  We certainly did not.

What is stuck in my head is a stanza from a song. We have discussed this problem before. The interesting ish part of the story is how I A. Got the song stuck in my head and B. Got two plus two to equal four. Here goes.. Today is November 1, 2011 in New Jersey. In my office I have two calendars. One is a Dilbert one day at a time calendar. You rip a day off each day for a new Dilbert cartoon. The other is a USVI (United States Virgin Islands) calendar. I have had a version of this calendar for the last ten years. It is that time a year again to purchase next years calendar. My DW has two safe, sure to please gifts for me each year.

This calendar is the more traditional type. One big picture on the top, the dates on the bottom. Along with the large picture of somewhere in the USVI there are also two small pictures from the island of the month. This month the island of St. John is featured. I looked at the picture and said to myself, Trunk Bay. The caption indeed said Trunk Bay. I have been there a few times. The other two small pictures caught my eye. One was of a flower, I’m not much of a flower guy, but the name caught my eye. Frangipani. Hmmm, instant song in my head. Two plus two equal four.  Here is the offending stanza:

Photographs show she is lovely
Her bare feet are a work of art
Her fragrance speaks of frangipani
Yes she’s still a hula girl at heart

Since you are not a huge Jimmy Buffett fan, the son is called Hula Girl At Heart.  To hear the song click here. This song  is like most when you (I) hear the words you may not know exactly what the words are. Springsteen songs are famous for that. Both my DW and I have sung along to the song, not know what a “frangipani” was, but we went with it. Here is the picture from the calendar. 


Crazy, but maybe I will have purged the song from my head. Go figure, 500 words about a song stuck in my head.

Children, oldest child spent two hours practicing his putting in the athletic office. There was nobody there and he was expected to spend two hours there. With no supervisory guidance, he practiced putting. He said he was a much better putter when he was done.  DS2 had clinical today. He was very excited to have clinical today. DS3 posted a few pictures from his Halloween weekend. Nothing crazy, just college pictures.

Yoga tonight was much better than yesterday. I am relaxed, ahhh




Sufficiently stretched for post 125..

Happy Halloween to everybody. DS1, the oldest college son, told me this morning when I texted Happy Halloween to him that I missed Halloween. I said, Dude, check your calendar. He said see appendix b, the college calendar. I get it, Halloween was celebrated Friday and Saturday night on campus. He said that the mascot outfit never left school since there were too many people around the office to “borrow’ it for the weekend. I think that probably is a good thing.  At the University of Scranton they had Safe Trick or Treating on Sunday. I mentioned this a few days ago. This is where “guides” (college students), escort groups of local children through the dorms for trick or treating. If you want to give out candy, you sign your room up and the guides bring the children by.  DS2, I don’t know what he did for Halloween. I guess we will get some face time this weekend to catch up.

Sufficiently stretched, yes I certainly am. Tonight there was no lacrosse due to Halloween. So I went to the health club with my DW for her (and my) usual Monday night yoga.  We were late. As we were trying to leave, the next door neighbor came by with two of hers and we chatted and my wife got to hold her six month old son. This is a picture of them.

Halloween 2011

Then after she and the kids went home, a “flock” of Halloweener’s came up the street.  This is why we were five minutes late for class. The usual leader says better to be a few minutes late, than not come at all.

Tonight I guess the usual leader was handing out candy at her house and was not working.  I met my fourth yoga teacher. Guess what, each of them are different. This women worked us hard. And she had the heat on in the room the entire time. Now, I sweat when we get going on a regular night, but with the pace, movements and the heat, I was soaked. As I sit here writing this, I am not sure if I enjoyed the class or survived it. I will have to give this some thought tomorrow.

My brother the weather man is still without power in North Jersey. He posted this picture on Twitter today.

Bloomfield, NJ - Halloween 2011

The caption said this was the house across the street from him and that most of his block looks about the same. He says they have been told it will be Wednesday or Thursday when their power is restored. In his town, trick or treating has been postponed until this Friday. My other brother that lives in North Jersey is without power as well. To add insult to his injuries, a branch or tree fell on their car. They posted a picture of the front windshield with quite a few sets of cracks in it.  Pretty crazy weather for the end of October.

Good night to all and hopefully you will get your power and heat back soon.