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Showing posts with label Friends and Family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Friends and Family. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Some of Sean's beach photos from last month

He just sent us these that were taken with his Iphone.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Visiting an ailing friend

Yesterday I visited a friend who recently transferred from a hospital to a nursing home until he is ready for a major operation.  The friend is exactly my age, and I have been musing that such visits to others, or others' visits to me, will become increasingly common as I grow older.  We're at that stage.

Friday, June 20, 2014

The House in Gormania

Pam's grandfather was living in this house when I first visited it about 35 years ago.  The house is located in a small West Virginia town and has stayed in the family with  sister-in-law Kathy and her husband Bernie currently owning it.

When I first entered the house, I was struck by the hand painted artwork of Disney cartoon characters on the dining room wall because I had seen a similar scene long ago.  In the 1950's my Uncle Steve and his family lived in an old house on the outskirts of a tiny town in Upstate New York, and the kitchen wall also contained pictures from the Disney cartoon feature, Bambi

My guess is that these paintings were done in the 1940's because the movie was released in 1942.  I don't know if an itinerant artist specializing in these paintings roved small town America in those years, or if kits were sold providing instructions for home-owners to paint them themselves.  To me the pictures have always symbolized a link between my family and my wife's.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Only the Dead Know Brooklyn

"...Duh poor guy! Say, I’ve got to laugh, at dat, when I t’ink about him! Maybe he’s found out by now dat he’ll neveh live long enough to know duh whole of Brooklyn. It’d take a guy a lifetime to know Brooklyn t’roo an’ t’roo. An’ even den, yuh wouldn’t know it all."

This weekend we made our third trip to Brooklyn in the past two years. I don't hear that accent anymore that Thomas Wolfe caught in his short story written in the 1930's that is quoted above.

My daughter Rebecca met us at Pennsylvania Station in the snow, and we walked along the Highline on the Westside of Manhattan to Chelsea to visit her husband Sean at work before having lunch in the West Village. Then the three of us took the subway to Brooklyn where my daughter and SIL live in the Crown Heights neighborhood. We stopped so that Pam and I could check into our hotel in downtown Brooklyn. The first two visits we stayed with them, but that apartment becomes a bit crowded with four adults and two cats.  It was nice and cozy, though, for hanging out Saturday afternoon watching the snow and waiting for my SIL to get off work to go out to dinner.

Below is Rebecca, Sean, and Pam in front of the Brooklyn Art Museum where we went on Sunday after brunch:
The facial features on the people in the museum exhibit are actually digital projections, so they blink and change expressions, and some of them speak.  A video would have captured this.
   Then Pam and I got on the subway back to Manhattan. At home I studied on-line maps to get a sense of the new places we saw which are just a small chunk of the big area that is Brooklyn.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Bride and Groom

Daughter Rebecca and Sean with Stephen Koch who performed the ceremony on Sunday, June 16, 2013.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

June 16, 2013

Rhythms of June: 

A poem for my daughter's wedding by Doug Jones

 As the solstice draws ever near
Completing a cycle of the year,
The sun ascends into the sky.
Long, hot summer days stand by.

What treasures do we see in June?
Crape myrtles and magnolias bloom.
Mayflies emerge from clear, cool, streams.
Fireflies dance through warm evenings.
Nature's gifts:  earth, air, and water,
And the month of June gave us our daughter.

June rhythms
Rhythms of June

June vacations at the beach-
Little girl's hand stretching to reach
Her mother's, placed there to reassure
Fears of crashing waves.  She's made secure.

June rhythms
Rhythms of June

They've marked the tempo of her existence
Mattering not how far the distance,
Through summer camps, proms, and graduations
Her life in tune with the vibrations.

June cell phone call from Manhattan's streets,
Woman's voice  says, "I should be at the beach."
June rhythms guiding her body.

So it is fitting that this June day
We gather here to observe this phase,
The union with a fine, young man.
They've shown already that they can
Create a world of their own
Stronger than one built alone,
A  shelter from the harsh outside
Where gentleness and support abide.
A world I felt first on a cold, wet, night
In a cozy apartment in Crown Heights.

June warmth
June rhythms
June love


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Gormania, West Virginia

Spent a couple of days visiting.  Above is Pam, her sister Kathy, and Kathy's husband Bernie in front of Kathy and Bernie's home which is the house that Pam and Kathy's mother grew up in.

Their clematis plant was so handsome I wanted a picture highlighting it.

Gormania is very near the headwaters of the Potomac River, and the river flows a few feet in front of the house.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Daughter Rebecca receives Masters

Tuesday at the New York University's Institute of Fine Arts.

Short but pleasant trip to the Apple.  Good dinner Monday night in Brooklyn and lunch Tuesday on the Upper East Side.

Father looking all of 65 years and daughter a lively 28 years.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Greg in Performance

My son Greg has played in a heavy/thrash metal band for a number of years.

 He's played with other bands and went on a three month tour with one, but Burning Shadows is always his main group.  Greg writes almost all the music, plays lead guitar, and does some of the vocals.

I chose these two images from the band's website.  I don't know who took the pictures.

Monday, April 23, 2012

With George and Margaret at Bethany Beach

As always, we had a fun overnight with great food and conversation.  That's them above with some anonymous passer-by in the frame behind Margaret.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Visit from Margo and other pictures

Yesterday Pam and I met old friend Margo who came in to DC with her boyfriend, Carroll who had work related meetings. While we waited for him, I took this picture of Pam and Margo in front of the Capitol. The four of us then had a nice dinner in DC's Chinatown.

Today, I took a few shots just outside the backdoor. (doo doo doo, looking out my backdoor, as John Fogerty sang)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Every day you're alive is a good day...

I try to keep that in mind and especially right now after attending my cousin's memorial service Saturday in New York City. Like his father, who was my favorite uncle, cousin Stuart died at 58.

I always knew Stuart was very smart and a very nice guy, but even knowing that it really impressed me hearing the steady stream of New York City attorneys who spoke not just of his brilliance as a lawyer but how he was admired for his kindness, warmth, and honesty.

The crowd was huge and the service long although quite moving, and afterward there was a gathering at the Park Avenue apartment of one of Stuart's brothers in law. That apartment (for sale at 16 million) was a peek into the world of the 1% we've been hearing so much about lately. In the dining room, the owner showed me where my cousin would place the pies he baked for Thanksgiving Dinner every year. Stuart excelled at everything that grabbed his interest: as a musician, historian, gardener, and a baker and probably other things as well.

Later my daughter Becca led my wife and I through the wind, the cold, and the snow to her Brooklyn apartment to spend the night. With many of the subway trains not running because of power failures, the trip was complicated and difficult after a long day. At the apartment she and her fiancee, Sean, had Indian food for us, and it was a huge relief to be warm and dry. The next morning the sky was blue and sunny when my daughter showed us her neighborhood as we went out for bagels.

After leaving my daughter, my wife Pam and I traveled back to Maryland under the sunny October sky, and I thought of cousin Stuart's widow and two children and of how lucky I was.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Stringer

It must have been about 25 years ago that I took the teenage boy fishing. David was the second son of a couple that I have known since junior high school. The couple had married and had children young, but even in the late 60's and 70's when my life was very different from theirs we remained friends. Having gotten into the baby business much later than they, my own children were too small to fish at the time the mother suggested a fishing trip with their son.

We went to nearby Rocky Gorge Reservoir, the same lake where I now keep my canoe. At that time I was car-topping that canoe whenever I used it, so I guess David and I loaded it on whatever car I was driving 25 years ago. We had a good day fishing and kept the bass, catfish, and crappie on David's metal stringer. When I drove him home, neither he or his mother wanted to keep and clean the fish, so it was agreed I would take them. David insisted I keep the stringer as well as the fish. I did and my young family ate fresh fish that evening.

David and I never fished again. He grew into a man, and his family moved from Maryland to the mid-west. I stayed in loose touch with his parents and saw them periodically over the years, the last time at a high school reunion just over a year ago. Although most of my fishing since that trip with David has been catch and release, when I keep fish to eat I use that same stringer that he gave me years before. At those times I sometimes remember how I got it and the fishing that day. Since I last used it a few months ago, the metal stringer has been lying on the downstairs floor where I often sort my fishing tackle while watching TV.

Last night I received an e-mail from the couple informing me that their son David just died. The funeral will be back here in Maryland very near the lake we fished that day. I've thought about taking the fish stringer in the pocket of my suit when I attend the services. It might seem a strange thing to do, but somehow I think it's appropriate.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Car show

Although I'm not a car hobbyist I attended a show in Edgewater, Maryland yesterday because my friend, Pat, was displaying some of his cars, one of which is pictured with him above. The show specialized in Nash Ramblers and other cars made by American Motors Corporation so I learned a lot about this collecting niche. Basically for me it was a good opportunity to sit outside on a nice day, drink beer, and talk cars, fishing, and any other subject that might arise.

Under the hood:

This one belongs to Pat's father and is one of only about 12 1957 Rebels in existance:

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Saturday at Fells Point in Baltimore

Pam and I met a few of the guys I've gotten to know from the internet. The group originated from a fishing message board which some of us broke with to talk about other subjects other than fishing. We periodically get together for lunch, and previous lunches have taken place in Arlington, Virginia, Washington, DC, and Annapolis and Deale Maryland.

Pam was a very good sport about coming along because much of the lunch activity was drinking beer and talking fishing neither of which she does. Nevertheless, she charmed all the guys, and one of them later posted that "she obviously lost a bet with God" which is their way of complimenting the wife and good naturedly insulting the husband.

We met at a old tavern named The Wharf Rat which is apparently known for the variety and quality of its draft beer. After a few rounds we proceeded, perhaps a little unsteadily, to Bertha's for lunch. Bertha's is well known for its mussels, and it lived up to its reputation, spread chiefly by bumper stickers which it has freely distributed for years.

As fishermen we are drawn to water, so we walked out to look at the harbor and to take a few pictures before heading back to The Wharf Rat for one last round. Pam took the above shot of the group, and Andy, the youngest member of the group took the picture of Pam and myself.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Lately I've been thinking about my wife's looks

She is quite beautiful, you see. A few nights ago we had dinner at another couple's house, so I was sitting across the table from her for a few hours. At 64 she is still amazing to look at. A year ago, we went to a high school reunion, and she was easily the best looking woman there. She was very pretty in high school, but there were many other pretty girls in our class. Now, she really stands out.

Now, some will read and think, "How nice. This man really loves his wife, and even though she's aged she is still beautiful to him." That's true, but she is also quite striking to people who are just seeing her for the first time. A couple of years ago she visited me at work, and I introduced her to two men I'm close to there. Later that day after she left, each separately said essentially the same thing to me: "Hey, you're kind of robbing the cradle there, aren't you?" No, she's actually 23 days older than me. About a year ago a guy I've known for a few years became somewhat tongue-tied upon meeting her for the first time.

On top of all this, she has many other outstanding qualities beyond her appearance. She is smart and has an inquisitive mind and a good sense of humor, all of which makes her an interesting conversationalist. She is an excellent cook and a loving and attentive mother to our children. I've been told I'm a lucky man by people who don't even know all this. They just say I'm lucky because they've seen her. They don't know how lucky I really am.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Last Night's Dream

Generally my dreams concern routine, boring actions like buying tires or doing taxes, but last night was an exception.

The phone rang, and I instantly recognized the voice as Marv, my friend who died last May. He said something like, "I was thinking about our discussion about yadayada..." It was common for us to continue previous conversations like that, so the only thing out of the ordinary was that he had been dead for eight months. When he stopped talking I said, "Well, if you can use the phone in the Afterlife, you can probably just come on over, " and he agreed to stop by the house.

As is common in dreams, my house didn't look anything like any house I ever lived in. It was multiple stories with an open stairway, so you could see people traveling between floors. It was from that vantage point that I saw Marv coming up to the floor I was on, but he wasn't moving with a walking motion. He was gliding up not so much like a ghost but more like a person on an escalator. In fact, the scene looked like a department store even though it was my home.

Marv didn't resume our phone conversation. He just settled down on the floor in a corner and watched the other people who had also come by the house. There was music playing as there usually is when we have visitors, and the song had a traditional country feel like bluegrass. I started dancing by myself in an old fashioned style like a hoe-down, and the dream pretty much ended. When I awoke I reviewed in my mind some details, especially Marv's appearance, because I knew Pam would be interested. He was younger looking than I had ever seen him alive, like he may have looked in his early 30's. His hair was dark without any gray and he was slimmer.

Pam has said that she envisions Marv's continued presence as sitting on a couch with her father and the two deceased men look down on we-the-still-living and criticize and laugh at our actions. George is drinking beer, and Marv is smoking marijuana. Maybe Marv settling down silently in a corner of my house in my dream is a similar vision that he is still with us.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Lunch with Randy and Mike

For almost all of my work years, I was a manager and an important function of managing is the supervision of other employees. During my last five years, I had the fortunate privilege of "managing" two of the finest employees I knew in those forty years. I put the word "managing" in quotes because these two are largely self managing, and my function was primarily overall guidance and setting goals and priorities. Randy and Mike are currently working on the largest facility relocation in Raytheon's history. That Fortune 500 company is in good hands because these two could move mountains.

I am proud of my association with Randy Taylor and Mike Calhoun and am happy that our friendship has continued after my retirement. I had a good time today, guys.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Shooting with John in Southern Maryland

I'm becoming reasonably good, but he's at a whole different level.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Visiting Farmer John

Visited John Van Brunt on his farm in Carroll County today. A number of years ago and well before he retired as a psychology professor at the University of Maryland, John bought about 30 acres with a pond and an old farm house and raised sheep.

We visited John often when our children were small, and the farm was an excellent place for suburban kids to learn about rural living. John doesn't venture out to the city often these days, and we got out of the habit of going up there. Lately, though, I've been re-establishing the friendship and have been glad I have because he's a person of many interests and an all round good guy. A few years ago, he converted the farm for use by a group that acquires mistreated horses.
I brought a rifle because John would like to see a thinning of the local groundhog population, but they laid low and I didn't get a shot. We took turns shooting his new shotgun in one of the back pastures. I'm looking forward to visiting him frequently.