Sunday, January 27, 2008


Yeah--its been cold here for two weeks. We have snow still on the ground and I haven't been able to work on "Kitty". Guess where I would rather be? Some place warm--like, here in Jupiter, Florida. Or even further south! Like Key West. Some day.

Kitty? You say? Yes that is my 1987 Jaguar XJ6 VDP. I got Kitty (get it?) after my 1998 GMC Sonoma was stolen while I was looking for a replacement. And it is a beautiful car, but as with all old vehicles it needs work and care. I do not drive it every day (it has a bit of an oil leak) but I love to drive it during good weather. And with the weather cold, I've been thinking a lot about moving lock, stock and Jaguar to Florida for some sun and surf.

But I know it will be warm soon and I'll be dreaming of getting the pool open so I can lay on a a floatie and drink a beer in the hot July sun.

New Position- When?

So, I've accepted a new position which requires shift work and a bit (a lot) more driving to and from work--but is only for 18 months. Here's the funny part--I don't know a lot more than that and it really is fun to watch the family try to fill in the holes. This is one of those things that is a "process" and it will all be revealed to me in good time. I applied for the job, so I know I want it and it is a good career move. It's just the way it works there are some missing pieces like a start date. Coordination takes time and it has only been a week.

So what about the lifestyle change of going from 5 days and 40+ hours a week to a shift schedule. There will be some growing pains I am sure and it will be hard no only on my family but on me too. Change is not easy, but I also find change exciting and I'm ready for change because I recently became aware that I'm not getting where I really want to be because I've been playing it too safe and not expanding myself enough. So let's expand. Guarantees? Nope. Change? Yep. Tough? You bet. Will I miss what I'm doing now--definitely.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Swimming with Ethan

I wish I had a picture, but of course I don't. What an experience. Two adults and one almost-three-year old together in a pool with many other children and adults. Mind you, Ethan has "NO FEAR!" Which is a great and at the same time scary thing. Fortunately, he does not seem to mind going under water. At one point he slipped and while Chris was yelling to me to "rescue" Ethan, I could see that no rescue was required. He pushed off the bottom and stood up smiling all the time about going under the water.

The funniest part though was going down the slide. He was slow to climb the stairs because he was cold--but didn't ever seem to figure out that if he hurried he would be back in the warm (by comparison) water. At the top of the slide though, this child with "NO FEAR" wanted to be sure that Pop-pop would be in the proper position to catch him. Pretty funny.

Hey, Nicole--someone really needs to teach this boy to swim. He is ready.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Watching the Grand-puppy

So we had the opportunity to watch Jeremy's dog, Ben, this weekend while he and Nicole went on a short mid-winter vacation. It was good to have a lively dog in the house again. He livened things up with Zach, our very old and sedate Yorkie and the two cats--Grace and Louie. Ben is a Keeshond--and we used to breed Keeshonden when Jeremy was a boy. They are absolutely the greatest and smartest dogs ever. I know the Golden Retriever mafia will be on my case for that statement and Meghan was a great dog, too. Ben is a great example of the breed--fun loving, smart, and a great companion.

So, I wish I had something funny to write about watching Ben, but I don't. He was just great. Do I want another dog--no! We are finally getting to the point where taking a weekend away doesn't require planning for a dog-sitter. I did lose the laces to my moccasins, but with every operation there are going to be a few losses. But, I did find a picture of Ben as a small puppy and another of him a couple months ago--so you can appreciate him.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Alaska in December

So I had the opportunity to go to Alaska during December 2007. Anchorage to be exact. A glorious week in the cold, ice, fog, and snow! It was for business--like who would ever go to Alaska in December for pleasure? It was strangely beautiful, during the short about 5 hours per day of day light that I could see it. The beer was great, the halibut awesome and the cold pervasive!

I got to experience four very different weather options. On the day of arrival it was snowing--a lot! The next day it got colder and rained so it was an ice storm. Wednesday of the week I was there it was foggy--pea soup thick. Thursday was a relatively nice (and cold) day and it was the day these pictures were taken by my traveling companion, Larry.

I was fortunate to stay right in the downtown area of Anchorage and where I had to go was within about two miles of where I was staying. I had been to Alaska before--to Fairbanks in 1985. So it was at least not my inaugural visit to the great land up north. I had really hoped to see the Aurora Borealis--but given the clouds that did not happen.

I do have to say--if you can avoid Northwest Airlines when you do--avoid them. No movie! No food and precious little water. I'm glad to have gone, but happier to have returned. I now understand what they mean when they talk about Alaskans being a "breed apart!"

Monday, January 14, 2008

Football Playoffs

Disappointment abounds this Monday morning as all of the family's teams have been eliminated from the NFL Playoffs. The last remaining family favorite fell yesterday (the Cowboys). Some of the family favorites--like my Ravens, didn't even make it to the playoffs. But then, I root for another Baltimore team which hasn't seen the playoffs in over 10 years and that would be the Orioles. Perhaps I'm better at cheering for teams that habitually disappoint. The other family teams are the almost local Redskins and the Steelers. Three of the teams made the playoffs--Cowboys, Steelers, and Redskins. Two did not: Orioles (yeah, they don't play football) and the Ravens. With football effectively over--this crazy family where we all have DirecTV and get the NFL Sunday Package, can now an turn its attention other activities on Sunday afternoons like--Hockey! Go Penns! Maybe we should take up bicycle riding--except it's January. When do pitchers and catchers report?

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Snow Angels

Remember that movie "Angels in the Outfield?" One of the lines was: "They're always with you," or something like that. This snow angel was made on Saturday, Jan 5th in Ithaca, NY. And it reminds us that angels are always with us and watching over us. Chris made it and was teaching Ethan about snow and snow angels. What a pretty and cold day it was. Ethan kept remarking, as he was being pulled on a sled behind a quad: "Fast please." If life were that simple, we'd all be enjoying it a lot more. But we seem to make it so complex. I was cold and worrying about my shoes getting wet while Ethan was teaching me to be in the moment--enjoy what God is providing to you right now. It gives God pleasure to make us happy and too often we are the ones who are sucking the pleasure out of life with our contrived needs and unnecessary complexities. Life is about relationships--ours with others and ours with God. Why are we making that difficult? Because when its is too simple we can't believe its true. Ethan, thanks for bringing the fun of snow back to my life. I still don't like shoveling it, but now I have a memory to smile about when I see snow.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

80th Birthday Celebration

What a weekend. We drove to upstate NY to celebrate my Dad's 80th birthday. What a blessing he is to all of us. I rode in the car with Ethan (my grandson all of 2 1/2) my daughter Nicole, and my wife. Just shy of six hours--each way. Now let me say tight off--Ethan was great! It was good to have our daughter and grandson all to ourselves in the car. Was it fun? Well--I have to be very careful with that answer.

The birthday party
was well attended by family, relatives, and friends from the church where Dad actively continues to minister. It was good to reconnect with everyone and to celebrate Dad's becoming an octogenarian--which I had to explain to some is a real word. It was a surprise party, and this picture was taken right as he realized the surprise party was for him. Fortunately, we did the party a couple days before his birthday. The participation by the members of the church in Etna, NY was fabulous. Everyone made the day special to Dad--and he is a real special guy. God is using him in ways he never imagined. It is good to take some time out and recognize the accomplishments people make and to get a sense of the number of people our lives touch. We can each make a difference--one person at a time.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Christmas Tree Hunting - December 2007

Ethan is off on his own. It is amazing how a huge field of Christmas Trees and one little boy can be such a perfect match. It was cold--but Ethan didn't seem to mind. There were places to explore and things to see and do. He especially liked the creek at the end of the road and it took a great deal of restraint to keep him from going into the creek. He found the ice on the water fascinating. Finding the "perfect" Christmas tree almost became secondary. I can almost hear him saying-- "Follow me, the road goes this way."

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Best Pictures 2007 - Key Largo, April

So what are you feeling like today? We found this pelican sitting on a post and he made the best picture. Look deep into his eyes and ask yourself--are you a fish? Today was my first day back at work since just before Christmas and I can tell you this--the pelican has a much better outlook on life than I do right now. Who would have though so much stuff would pile up. So do you want a pet pelican? Actually, who would want to clean up after one? Bet it smells like dead fish! Check out the bird sanctuary.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Great Pictures 2007 - Singer Island, FL July 7, 2007

This is the reason I love Florida in the summer. Here we are at Singer Island, John D. MacArthur Beach State Park and the beach is ours. The day was threatening thunderstorms, but the snorkeling was awesome at the rocks right off shore. The water was clear and the animal life varied. Sure isn't Ocean City, MD on a hot summer's day. The walk to the beach can be long, but the reward is certainly worth it in the end. Over the month of July we visited this park on three occasions and this day was by far the best overall day of snorkeling we had at the park.

Happy New Year 2008

Everyone seems to want to say it first, and I'm no different. Hopefully this year will find everyone well and happy. There should be ample opportunities for excitement and joy in the year ahead. Take them. We had a great New Year's Eve (no pictures) arriving safely back at home sometime after midnight but before 1AM. It is truly awesome the way the year begins: so much hope and promises and expectations. I pray the year is truly a great year. We are expecting our second grandchild--and that will be a great event in March (if not sooner). Peace to all.
My Zimbio
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