Funny how a weekend can come together..

This past weekend was one of those serendipitous collections of moments that often happen in my life.  I hope to get 75 points in Word with Friends for that word some day.  This weekend was one of those where the journey and the destination were both the key. And the best part of the weekend was that I got to share it with my DW.

This odyssey started the week before when I saw a Tweet from Mac McNally detailing that there were tickets still available for his show in Annapolis, MD at the Rams’s Head. I get emails all the time from the Rams’s Head, I don’t remember seeing that Mac would be playing there. I sent my DW an email asking if she was interested.  We do communicate via email often. It works because she will check her mail at some point and she may not check her phone. I can send the email from work and follow-up in person when I get home.

Well, I got no reply from her. I figured, oh well. She has been overwhelmed these past few months since her mom passed away and I am trying my hardest to make life as easy as possible. A week went by and the tickets are still available so I asked her, any interest? She said yes, let’s go! I bought the tickets on-line and figured that was it for the weekend. I booked a hotel on Hot Wire so we would not have to drive home after the show.

The week before the concert we started looking at Chevy Captivas on-line. The Captiva once was a Saturn Vue but now has come back re-styled and re-engineered with a better engine and drive train. This small SUV is only available for fleet sales. Fleet sales = rental car companies.  We drove one for two weeks in Florida and liked the size and style. As we looked on-line most of the cars were 2013 models with 20 + k miles.  We found one in Delaware that was a 2014 with 12 k miles at the same price as the 2013 models and the car was at the top trim level. Heated seats, remote start, sunroof, navigation.. the works.

Since we were driving to Annapolis (going through Delaware) I figured we could stop by and see the car.  I traded emails with the dealership and my insurance agent. In the midst of this, we looked to who was playing college lacrosse in Baltimore Saturday. It turned out that John’s Hopkins and Syracuse were playing at Homewood Field.  Homewood  Field is one of those places that you have to visit if you are a college lacrosse fan.  It was decided that we would get up early, drive to Delaware, look at a car. Then travel to Baltimore for a noon time gave and end the day in Annapolis for the Mac McAnally show.

The car purchasing went well. The car was as advertised and the dealer did not try anything shady. So we parked my DW’s green minivan in the dealership parking lot and headed to Baltimore with the new wheels. We arrived at Homewood Field midway through the first quarter. Visiting Homewood Field is a bucket list check off for me. Always wanted to go, was not sure if we would ever get there. The game was excellent. Syracuse won to the disappointment of the home crowd. Excellent venue to see a game.

We ate lunch in the Inner Harbor of Baltimore. Outdoors in the sun. Not bad after the cold winter we had.  While we eating lunch, a couple walked up to us and inquired about my OWU lacrosse jacket. I play on the OWU alumni team even though I never attended the school. I know someone who did and that is how I got on the team. We talked lacrosse for a few minutes, compared who we knew (a lot of people).  They were at the Hopkins vs. Syracuse game that day as well. Small world.

Then we drove to Annapolis and killed an hour before heading over to the Ram’s Head for the show. After we parked the car we were walking to the club when some guy said “Hey OWU”. I turned my head and the man introduced himself (class of 84). We talked lacrosse and who we knew (deja vu) and then went into the venue. Safe from OWU lacrosse people.

The show was excellent. Mac is the six or seven time CMA Musician of the Year.  He is also part of Jimmy Buffett’s band and a music producer. We sang along with every song and enjoyed a few craft beers at the same time.  A few days later I tweeted Mac’s daughter to tell her about the show (not expecting a response) and she said that Mac enjoyed the show as well.  Seeing Mac is a check off on my bucket list.

Two in one day!  Watch out!

Here are a few pictures from Saturday. I did not bring my big camera into either venue since I was unsure about camera policies and walking back to the car with the camera sucks.

Thanks for reading this long post, I lived it and dammit it was great!


SMP Farms..

Maybe the title should be “A Tale of Two Gardens”.  Last Saturday, my DW and I traveled to Annapolis, MD for a professional lacrosse game.  Wes stopped by SMP Farms to visit DS1 at work. He has been working at this job since last spring and we had never visited his work place. He works about 50 miles away from home. The GPS took us over the river and through the woods since we opted to avoid toll roads. I wanted to see what the route that he drives each day is like. I don’t think I would want to drive that route everyday. I would suck up and pay the tolls and set the cruise control. His route has too many lights and 45/50 mph zones for my taste.

There are of course pictures from our visit. I will add a few at the bottom and a link to the Drop Box folder so you can see them all.  The farm/nursery is huge. I really had no idea how large the business was. We were both quite impressed. DS1 met us when we drove in and gave us an hour plus walking tour of the farm. We met the owner. He was a lot younger than we expected. I thanked him for keeping DS1 employed. I have a habit of thanking the children’s employers when I meet them.  We also met several of his co-workers.

We watched DS1 do his Saturday job which is being a salesperson to the plant needy populace. We also watched him drive the tractor using it to load a tree into the back of a pick up truck. DS1 shared some business wisdom with us on Saturday. He told us if the potential customer arrived in a pick up truck, the chances of closing the sale were much greater than somebody showing up in their car looking to “kick the tires”  We picked out a couple of Day lilies and a Sago Palm Tree to take home.  DS1 got the honor of delivering them to our home and planting them Sunday afternoon. The Sago Palm was not planted since it can not take the New Jersey winters.

Here are a few pictures from the farm.  Enjoy!  And thanks for reading!

The two gardens? Her (DW) has the flower garden. Him (me) has the food garden. Saturday’s visit was a flower garden visit.




Hiding in plain sight..

Summer time and the living is easy.. Isn’t that a line from a song?  A quick Google search turns up that the song is called Summer Time by George Gershwin.  It is actually listed in Wikipedia as an   aria composed by George Gershwin for the 1935 opera Porgy and Bess. The lyrics are by DuBose Heyward, the author of the novel Porgy on which the opera was based, although the song is also co-credited to Ira Gershwin by ASCAP.  Thank you to the good people at Wikipedia for the copy and paste! 

Easy? Maybe not. With the heat over the last week or so here on the East Coast of North America we have been hiding in plain sight. Indoors with the a/c running. Watering the plants and hiding from the mosquitos. I have continued my Map My Ride Tour De France challenge, riding my bike each day. I am certainly missing that hour of sleep between 5:50 am and 7:05 am that has been sacrificed to the challenge.  Five or so more days to the tour and the challenge. After that? I will probably skip a day here and there but hopefully continue to ride.

Other notable goings on here in NJ..

  • DS1 has joined the Dark Side trading in his Black Berry Curve for an iPhone 4S. The Black Berry was pretty beat up.
  • DS2 is going on vacation to the Outer Banks with his GF and her family. They are stopping here for dinner Friday night.
  • DS3 continues to work, his finger is getting better. In another week he should be able to carry on without a bandage
  • Student loans are in the works for another school year, I won’t miss the mid-July student loan stress once they are all done with college.
  • Next weekend I will be traveling to Millerton, NY for the Harlem Valley Bike Ride.  40 miles on the valley floor with “no significant elevation changes” We’ll see how that works out.
  • Looking to go to Annapolis for the Bayhawks professional lacrosse game on August 3.
  • DW took a hot yoga class Monday night. When I got home from lacrosse her face was ruby-red. I thought she had been crying, not the case. Just overheated.
  • I scored on goal during Monday night lacrosse.

We went to a car show at a local watering hole after dinner tonight. Here are a few pictures from that visit.  Enjoy and thanks for reading!



Mid-Atlantic sunburn..

My nose is peeling tonight.  It does not really bother me, just sometimes when I am concentrating on some thing at work, I will see those little dry skin cells looking back at me. Not ewww.  But, Yea!  Saturday my DW and I went down to Annapolis to watch the Navy vs. Army college lacrosse game. We sat on the sunny side of the street (stadium). That side just happened to be the Army side as well.  We got free tickets when as we were walking up to the ticket booth a women with a fist full of tickets asked us if we needed tickets. I replied yes, and she gave me two and said to enjoy the game!  Her group bought tickets in bulk since it was cheaper to buy too many, than just enough. And, she had some people cancel out and not show up for the game.  Army won 14 to 7. We sat in the front row near the 50 yard line. Excellent seats!

Saturday night we stayed over in Baltimore and stayed at the Baltimore Hilton.  We got a decent deal on Hotwire for the hotel. We ate at a restaurant called Jimmy’s Famous Seafood.  I wanted crabs, my DW was happy for a crab cake.  We had a great dinner. The restaurant is a little bit of a hike from downtown, but worth the trip. Just yesterday, the restaurant won the Restaurant of the Year in Maryland.  The crabs were good. Small, but good. I really enjoyed them.

Sunday we traveled to Scranton to see DS2 and DS3. DS2 was performing in a concert Sunday afternoon. While he was getting ready for his concert, DS3 and I went to the turf field at Marywood and practiced lacrosse for an hour. I really enjoyed throwing the ball around with my youngest son.  Here are You Tube links to several videos I shot at the concert Sunday:

After the concert we went to Coopers Seafood House to celebrate DS3’s 20 th birthday which is coming up on April 24. DS2’s GF joined us as well. She is not as shy around us as she has been in the past. I guess she is getting used to our crazy family.  Sunday night we stayed over in Scranton traveling home Monday morning.

Monday was lacrosse, no goals for me. I walked the Allaire Trail Tuesday at lunch time. Here is a video from this Tuesday and video from the same area on January 29, 2013. There has been some, small progress getting the trail cleared after Sandy. Tuesday night was adult school yoga, always a good time.

Below are some pictures from the weekend. Enjoy!



Releasing my inner randomness..

Dateline: Later Saturday night. Dinner is done. The Steak Dianne turned out great. We did not have any potatoes. The fresh mozzarella was wrapped in prosciutto and the shrimp cocktail had a sauce that would clear your sinuses. Really, cold killing horseradish. We have forgotten what our parents knew all along about fighting colds.  I have been walking around for the last two weeks capturing random thoughts and not letting them go. Tonight I’m letting them go. You have been warned!

  • When you get on a plane and the person in front of you starts hacking up a hairball, you think you may have picked the wrong seat. But the air is re-circulated, so there is no escape.
  • Then the stewardess announces that it is time to turn off anything with an on/off switch. The same hairball hacker asks the stewardess how to turn his cell phone off. Really? Maybe you should not have one if you can’t even turn it off. I would have turned it off and not told him how to turn it back on!
  • You are sitting at a bar, one bartender tells the other that he has had the flu for the last week and is feeling better. Then he hacks up a hairball. Ask for the check and drink elsewhere!
  • Nobody that wants to stay unnoticed show wear chartreuse spandex pants. Even if you look good in them,
  • Thongs are to be looked at. If you don’t like that,why are you wearing one to a public, family friendly beach?
  • Your flip-flops should never have snow in them, mine did tonight.  It is snowing here in New Jersey.

There you have it. Maybe this should have been filed under “Things that bother me so.”  But wait, there are more pictures to share. Enjoy!




Off center..

Right of center, left of center, center? Not tonight, that is for sure. Tuesday night is supposed to be my yoga night. A chance to get “centered” and then breathe my way through the week.  My job found me this evening at home. I am at fault for leaving my work cell phone turned on. I was expecting one call, but got bush whacked by a second call.  The second call stole an hour from my life this evening. Now I need to plan my revenge. Absolutely way too dramatic.  What can I say.

Yesterday DS3 and I played lacrosse with the older crowd at the Robbinsville Field House. He looked like he was having fun last night. He took most of the face-offs for the other team. And won those that he took.  He had a few shots, quite a few good passes and at least one goal. He played for the other team so I cheered, just not as loudly as when we play on the same team. Me, I played. Not my best, not my worst. I seem to attract the better defensive player some nights. I don’t see my self as the top offensive threat. Maybe they do..

Monday work for me was slow. My scheduled work got cancelled on Friday afternoon, too late to find a replacement. I kept busy. Today was a very long day with one customer. Part of today’s work involved upgrading a third-party software that is known to not upgrade well. Today was one of those days. In the end, I got it done. That was the call I was expecting after hours. And I got it.  As a matter fact she called five times in ten minutes. 

DS3 went back to school today. No problems during his commute. He did get lucky in a way Sunday afternoon. He and I went to COSTCO to get windshield wipers for his car and a case of Gatorade for his dorm. When we got home we were swapping out the old for the new blades when I noticed a trail of fluids on the road when he had just been driving. We took the car down to the mechanic that evening. The next day they put the car in the lift and found that the oil filter was leaking. DS3 had the oil changed on Thursday up in Scranton before driving home on Friday. My mechanic said that the filter was tightened with a pair of pliers and they punctured the filter. The car was 3 quarts low when they looked at it on Monday. We got really lucky that I saw that trail of fluids. He never would have made it to Scranton with that oil leak.

My DW worked a full day on Monday. Today and tomorrow there are very few cases so she is flexed for part or most of both days. This happens each October when the same doctors all go on vacation.  She went to yoga last night and tonight.   DS1 worked two full days. Tonight he has the company pick up truck. He made a late day delivery in the area so he got to take the truck home.  That saves him over two hours of driving tonight.

Here are a few pictures from October 2000. Our family went to St Thomas for a week. Enjoy!




Ah, the empty nest..

Not really empty, at least not yet.  This evening nobody is home except for my DW and I. DS1 went to work Saturday morning saying that he was not coming home Saturday night. He went to Allentown to visit his girl friend. He has not been home today. His phone must be dead since he does not answer calls or texts. DS2 is at work today until 9 pm. DS3 is working until close. This means 10 pm plus clean up the store. He should be home by 11 pm. He did make it home alive Friday night and I still have some teeth left from grinding them that night.

Us, the happy couple. We had a date weekend. I took my date to Annapolis to see a professional lacrosse game. It is a good thing she likes lacrosse. We left Saturday morning and were in Annapolis by noon time. We had a room booked at the Taylor House, a bed and breakfast in Annapolis. We stopped by the house, got our key and got changed into bathing suits. The owner directed us to the local state park called Quiet Waters State Park. Here we rented kayaks for a couple of hours. We kayaked on Harness Creek. In this video, we are in one of the secluded coves off Harness Creek. The kayaking was easy, there was not much boat traffic or wind to disturb the water.

After our boating adventure we returned to the bed and breakfast and got showered and cleaned up. We met some friends at the Boatyard Bar and Grill for dinner. They had dessert since they had already eaten dinner. My DW and I had crab cakes. I had a sandwich, she had the dinner without the bread. The crab cakes were very good. I also had Malpeque oysters as an appetizer. There were delicious. After dinner we drove over to the Navy – Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, in the rain, for the game.

We did not have tickets so as we walked under our umbrellas towards the ticket window I ask a guy if he had tickets to sell. He said here, take these two, I’m going home. And, the tickets included two VIP tent passes!. I was excited,these ticket would cost you 50 dollars each. I looked at the ticket and they were singles, one here and one there. Since there were four of us, I decided to just buy tickets so we could all sit together.  When we got in the stadium the game was under a lightning delay. We made our way towards the VIP tent to see what these passes would get us. The husband and I went into the tent with the passes and saw the food and open bar. We each got a beer. I went back for the ladies. My DW used one of the passes and came back in with me. Then I went back out and brought the other wife in with me using the passes. We hung out, had free beer and soft drinks untill the game was ready to start. Our seats were under the overhang so we did not get wet.

The home team lost. We enjoyed the game. After the game the other couple drove south to their home near Washington, DC. We went back to the Boatyard for drinks. I had another half-dozen oysters and some rum. It was an enjoyable way to end our date night. The bed and breakfast only had one room left when we booked. This room had two single beds. We slept in separate beds in the same room for maybe the first time in our lives. I did not like it.  One night, you can do most anything.  Next time we will make sure we get a room with a queen or king sized bed.

Sunday we had our continental breakfast and then headed home. On the way we stopped at the farmer’s market downtown in Annapolis. We purchased Cream Line Chocolate milk for the children. This milk has been pasteurized, not homogenized. The milk is very creamy and tastes like a milkshake out of the bottle. We also bought some crab meat and some crab dip. The ride up 95 was not to bad.  No real traffic jams.

Tonight for dinner we had filet mignon with fresh crabmeat on top. This was covered in a Hollandaise Sauce. We had mashed potatoes with crab chirps mixed in and a salad. Now, it’s quiet.  She is reading a book and I am typing..

Tonight’s pictures from the weekend. Enjoy!


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