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.

 

 

 

Tampa/Sarasota Saturday afternoon..

Saturday morning we spent in Tampa at the Flan Festival and the Ybor City Farmer’s market. You can read about that here. Saturday afternoon we drove south to Sarasota, Florida to visit the distillery at Drum Circle Distilling. This is the company that makes Siesta Key Rum. Their website can be found here.

The distillery has a tasting room and also gives tours. What could be better than free rum and a tour?  Nothing that day for sure.  While we were there they had a camera man video taping the tour to be used in a promotional video.  My DW and I are in the video which I will post below. We are in the video in seconds 20 -23, in the tasting room talking to the owners.

The rum was good. I wish it were available in New Jersey near us. The only liquor store that carries the rum is in Union, NJ which is about 80 miles from home. The best rum was the spiced rum. The aged rum needs a few more years to age.  Here is the video.

 

http://youtu.be/7d7Bgcy8nr0

 

The crazy part of the afternoon was that the rental car would not start.  The battery was dead while we were in Sarasota. I called Allstate Roadside (we have with our cars at home) and they came out and jumped the car for free. The car, which we rented from Dollar Rent A Car, was a 2012 Altima with 41,000 miles. The tires were beat and the body showed the miles. When we picked it up at the airport there were not many cars to choose from. Next time I will walk back inside and get something nicer. Really, 41,000 miles at a major US airport in your rental fleet?

When the mechanic opened the hood we discovered that the positive terminal on the battery was corroded. I have never, ever, had a battery that corroded on any of the cars that I have owned over the years.  The mechanic removed the negative terminal and cleaned that (it wasn’t too bad). He went to take the positive terminal off and the connector started to bend. Then next stop after bend is break. He stopped working on the terminal and just jumped the car. He advised that we don’t shut it off and return it ASAP! Nice, huh?

We drove the car back to Dollar after talking to them on the phone. We picked up a 2013 Impala with 7000 miles. That is the kind of mileage I would expect at a major US airport from a major car rental. Shame on you Dollar Rental!

Here is a picture of the battery terminal on that car

2014-02-22 14.58.46

Here is a link to the Drop Box containing the pictures from the distillery tour.

Here are few distillery pictures.

Enjoy and Thanks for Reading!

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

 

Thanksgiving 2013..

Happy Thanksgiving 2013 to all. Yes, I am a little late posting.  We spent Thanksgiving Day at my wife’s mothers house again this year. Dinner was homemade manicotti, deep-fried turkey and many desserts. There also was the usual stuffing, sweat potatoes, salad and such.  I fried two turkeys Thanksgiving week.  One at the MIL’s house and one at work.

Wednesday at work my job was to cook the turkey. I did a little actual work related work, but cooking the turkey was certainly job one. I will add a few pictures of the finished turkey at the bottom of this page.  All three of the boys were in attendance at dinner. Saturday DS1 went back to his apartment and DS3 drove out to LI to visit his girlfriend. DS2 went back to Scranton Sunday morning.

The college boys have about two more weeks and then the fall semester is over.

We did reach a milestone this past weekend. I wrote my second of three (possible) graduation expense checks. DS1 did not attend graduation, but we had to pay the fee in order for him to get his diploma. DS2 is scheduled to graduate on Mother Day 2014.   There is one more possible graduation fee check to written next December. How the time flies!

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

 

Busy living, not writing..

That is my excuse.  We have been busy living our lives, and have not had much time to document the journey.   Writers block is too strong a term or phrase for the current situation.  I am going to resort to bullet points tonight. And they are in no particular order:

  • Sunday, was supposed to be a quiet day. Stay home, 6 pm gentle yoga, dinner and bed.  While watching football my DW called me into the kitchen where the back door was open (45 degrees out) and the kitchen smelled like natural gas. I said, hmmm. Seems the stove did not want to light even though the gas wanted to flow. The stove was about 15 years old. We bought it when they brought natural gas to our street.  Instead of fixing it again, we decided to replace it. So, at 3 pm Sunday afternoon we did some online shopping at Home Depot and Lowes and then went to Lowes and bought a new stove. I put it in the van, removed the old one and installed the new one. We were not late for yoga. Nor were we early.  The stove works great and by 5 pm the next day the old stove had been trash picked from the curb.
  • Saturday, we decided to buy a new table to put the 55 in tv in the tv room on. It had been sitting on a chest from the bedroom for months. The cable box, surround sound and DVD player were all sitting on the floor. We had shopped for something to put them on but had balked at the cost. We found a reasonable piece of furniture at Kohl’s that would do what we want.  We put the table together, disconnected all the wires and re-wired the connections with the cable hidden and the outward appearance looking really nice.  I mean adults live here, shouldn’t things look nice?
  • Saturday night we visited DS1 at his new apartment. He moved out back in September and for the first four weeks we had a general idea of where the apartment was. Then we actually got a mailing address.  After we visited and dropped off some goodies for his apartment we traveled to Philadelphia to eat dinner at Doc Magrogan’s Oyster House. The restaurant is on Samson Street near Penn and Drexel Universities. Dinner was excellent!  I had oysters and fish and chips. My DW had the lobster mac-n-cheese and DS1 had the lobster raviolis. We also shared a lobster dip. This month lobsters are the focus of their menu. We have eaten at another of the Doc Magrogan’s in Scranton several times. Not cheap, but really good food.
  • Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were days that we celebrated my DW’s birthday. The actual day was Wednesday. On Wednesday we had dinner at home and went to yoga. Thursday night we had a birthday dinner at one of the local BYOB Italian restaurants. The food was good. Friday we went to our local watering hole for a burger and soup. Another birthday celebration toast was shared that night.
  • Sunday, Monday and Tuesday were yoga nights. Work has been really busy for me. It is not like I tote that barge and lift that bale kind of work. But the details, stress and sheer volume have left me pretty burned out when I get home.  My DW has had a few crazy weeks at work as well. Some days she works overtime and then the next day she is flexed because there are no cases. Same old story where she works.
  • Today I went to see my cardiologist. It has been two months since my procedure in the hospital. It was decided at the visit that I can stop the blood thinners but continue the beta blocker. Upside? Yup, I can go back to playing lacrosse in a week. I hope to play with DS1 next Wednesday night. 
  • Tonight my DW attended a retirement party for one of her co-workers. I had dinner alone (boo hoo) and went to yoga alone. The ladies were asking where my DW was. We almost always attend together so when one of us is missing they always ask why. The class was full. There may have been room for one more student tonight.
  • Children – DS2 is working on his graduate school admissions stuff. He has a concert Saturday afternoon at 4 pm. DS3 is going to Long Island this weekend to visit his girlfriend. He will miss seeing his parents in Scranton.

Pictures, yup – there are a few.  Enjoy and thanks for reading!

Namaste

 

The revolving kitchen or front door…

Revolving doors, it seems like this past week we had quite a few visitors at home.  Friday I had two visits from DS1. His job sent him towards LBI first thing and then back again around lunch time. He stopped by for “the best breakfast” in the past week. We had pork roll and eggs. If you have been following along, I work from home on Fridays. He was back for lunch as well. It was nice to see him and share two meals. Half way through lunch he mentioned that he was still full from breakfast. Five minutes later he was up getting some more lunch. The cheese noodles were a hit (along with the leftover Coney Island hot dogs).

Friday night DS3 came home for the weekend. He wanted to visit with some of his high school friends for the weekend. We (DW and I) saw him for part of Friday evening and for a few hours on Saturday. He and his friends came by the house and had a fire in the backyard Saturday night. Sunday morning he  went back to school.  One walks out the door and the next walks in the door. A slightly empty nest last week. This week, no visitors so far.

DS2 and I are going to Chicago on October 26 for a graduate open house at the Columbia College of Chicago. They have a Masters program in music composition for tv, film and theatre. I have never been to Chicago.  Well, that is not true, we once stopped in Chicago flying from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia. Yep, think about that trip.  I have been doing some research on the school. If anyone reading this knows about the school, drop me line. I am also looking for suggestions for breakfast, dinner and a hotel either near the school (South Loop) or near Midway Airport.

At home, yoga rules the roost. Monday is hot yoga, Tuesday is adult school yoga, Wednesday is gentle yoga and Thursday is restorative yoga. Friday we drink beer.  Weekends we avoid working on the hot tub and watch some football.

Sunday I rode my bike for the first time since the beginning of August. This coming weekend we (the Weatherman and I) are scheduled to ride in Pa. I needed to work out some of the rust (in my legs). The ride went well.  We also picked late season tomatoes from the garden and made four cups of salsa, yum!

Enjoy the rest of the week.

Namaste

DS1's 25 th birthday back in July

DS1’s 25 th birthday back in July

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