Monday, November 28, 2022

Happy December

About December


Full Moon Dec. 7th



Pearl Harbor Day
Boxing Day
Read a New Book Month
Human Rights Month

Calendar Awareness Month
National Handwashing Awareness Week
National Fruit Cake Month

Symbols of December

  • Birthstone: Turquoise, zircon, or tanzanite
  • Flower: Narcissus or Holly
  • Zodiac signs: Sagittarius or Capricorn

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Conversion complete

A couple of months ago (Sept. 18) I posted a piece called "End of an Era" wherein I talked about our decision to stop burning wood.  Between then and now we spent gathering information on what we were going to do and how much it would cost.  

Well, we have finally gotten to the point where we have installed two propane burning fireplaces-one in the living room and one in the family room.  

There is still a little work to be done.  The one in the family room is missing a piece of trim along the bottom where there's a gap between the unit and the hearth.  The one in the living room has yet to be tiled but that is going to take place this coming Monday.

When everything is said and done, I will post pictures.  For now we have been using both units in the evening.

Thus far I can report the pros and cons to having made this switch.

Pros:  Propane is much cleaner than a wood burning stove.  Propane requires no effort on my part whereas burning wood did.  Propane heat is much easier to regulate. 

Cons:  Burning wood required very little in costs.  I used a little gas for my chain saw and log splitter and the rest was sweat.  I managed to find ample sources of wood for free.  Propane costs about $3.50 a gallon. I have two tanks: a 500 gallon tank which also supplies our standby generator and a 100 gallon tank for the fireplace in the living room.  This being the first season using propane I don't have a handle on costs yet but I do know that the price of heating oil is very high so we should see a savings but it's still not free like wood was.  

Stay tuned for pictures when everything is done. 

Monday, November 14, 2022

Many losses this month

Slightly over a week ago I learned of the loss of a very good friend.  I had worked with this person for many years during my teaching years.  Sandi and I became friends with her and her husband and visited them often when we were at our condo in Florida.  To add insult to injury her husband had passed away just a few weeks before she did.  They were very good friends. We will miss them.

 No sooner did that happen then we received the very sad news that our daughter's family lost their dog to an unexpected illness.  Daisy was a yellow lab and a very sweet dog.  We dog sat for her on many occasions and in fact were expecting to have her over the Thanksgiving  holiday.  

There are some who will read this and say it's just a dog.  But pets are not 'just' pets.  Their loss is painful for the people who loved them.  This happened on Saturday November 12th.  

Finally, in just one month we will be marking the 10th  anniversary of the Sandy Hook tragedy.  The Sandy Hook memorial recently opened to the public.  I haven't seen it yet but will soon.  While it's 10 years that have passed it's still very fresh in my mind.  So it has been a rough couple of weeks.

Let's hope the rest of November unfolds without further events like this. 

                                                       Daisy, 8 yrs old.  We will miss you.

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Hello, November

About the month of November

 November 8th-Full Moon

Aviation Month
American Diabetes Awareness Month
National Stamp Collecting Month
National Peanut Butter Lover's Month



Symbols of November

  • Birthstone: Topaz and citrine
  • Flower: Chrysanthemum

Interesting Facts about November

  • It is the last month of the Fall season.
  • November in the Northern Hemisphere is similar to May in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • Elections are held in the United States on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November.
  • The third Thursday of November is the Great American Smokeout. Smokers are encouraged by the American Cancer Society to stop smoking on this day.
  • Some Christian churches celebrate All Saint's Day on the first day of November and All Souls Day on the 2nd.
  • American football is the main sport watched in the United States during this month.
  • Most, if not all, of the leaves have fallen off the trees by the end of November.

November Calendar

“Just for Fun” Dates in November

November is Banana Pudding Lovers Month—who knew? Here are some more wacky celebrations to look forward to:

  • Nov. 1: National Cook for Your Pets Day
  • Nov. 6: Zero-Tasking Day
  • Nov. 9: National Scrapple Day
  • Nov. 16: National Button Day
  • Nov. 21: World Hello Day
  • Nov. 23: Fibonacci Day

November Moon & Astronomy

The Full Beaver Moon

November’s full Moon is traditionally called the Beaver Moon. Why this name? In the Colonial Era, this was the month to set one’s beaver traps before the swamps froze and beavers retired to their lodges, to ensure a supply of warm winter furs.

In 2022, November’s full Moon occurs on Tuesday, November 8. Read our November Moon page for more information!

Catch a Total Lunar Eclipse (“Blood Moon”)

In the early morning hours of November 8, a total lunar eclipse will be visible from much of North America. The full eclipse begins at 5:16 A.M. EST, reaching totality at 5:59 A.M. EST. Read all about the upcoming November eclipse here

November Weather

According to weather folklore, a heavy November snow will last until April.

November Weather Folklore

  • If there’s ice in November that will bear a duck, There’ll be nothing after but sludge and muck.
  • November take flail; let ships no more sail.
  • If trees show buds in November, the winter will last until May.
  • There is no better month in the year to cut wood than November.
  • Ice in November brings mud in December.


Friday, October 21, 2022

Odds and Ends

Herein lies yet another edition of "odds and ends".

1. Lawn signs/TV political ads: Man, am I ever sick of these things.  How many lawn signs does it take to convince someone to vote for their guy (or gal)?  I mean is it really necessary to have as many as a dozen signs lined up in a row?  Freedom of speech and all that is fine but let's use a little common sense. 

The TV ads are just as annoying as the lawn signs.  As it gets closer and closer to election day, the ads get more and more nasty.  I guess all this is a small price to pay for living in a democracy but I can't wait for election day.

2.  I wish the democrats would stop talking up the abortion side of the recent Roe vs Wade decision.  I realize that's what everyone thinks it's about but to me it isn't.  To me it's about choice-a woman's choice to decide for herself matters concerning her life.  I think that argument would gain more traction with voters.

3. How about FL governor Ron DeSantis and Texas governor Gregg Abbott sending migrant families to New York and Martha's Vinyard?  It doesn't matter where you stand on the immigrant issue.  It simply a matter of human decency.  These two governors are using people to make their point and it stinks.  They're a couple of sleazy dirt bags who are up for reelection this year.  Dare we hope they're voted out?

4. And now on a more cheerful note:  We just returned from Rome, Italy.  We went there with my daughter's family to visit my grand daughter who is in her first semester of college there.  It was a busy but great trip.  We got to see the Colosseum, the Vatican, the Roman baths and many other interesting historical sites.  

We did a great deal of walking which was fortunate since the food is amazing.  From time to time we took a cab to further places.  Thank God I wasn't driving.  They're nuts over there.  You take your life in your hands walking and driving.  

I will post pictures on my web site soon.  Check it out.



Friday, September 30, 2022

Hello, October

The Month of October

Full moon October 9th


Yom Kippur
Columbus Day
Child Health Day
National Hispanic Heritage Month (Sep 15 through Oct 15)

Italian American Heritage Month
Polish American Heritage Month
National Breast Cancer Month
National Pizza Month
National Dessert Month
Country Music Month
National Book Fair Month

Symbols of October

  • Birthstone: Opal and pink tourmaline
  • Flower: Calendula
  • Zodiac signs: Libra and Scorpio

Interesting Facts about October

  • It is the second Autumn month.
  • National Fire Prevention Week falls during the week of October 9 each year. It commemorates the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.
  • October in the Northern Hemisphere is similar to April in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • The leaves of trees often begin to change their colors during this month.
  • The World Series for Major League Baseball generally takes place during October.
  • The NBA, National Basketball League, and the NHL, National Hockey League, both begin their seasons in October.
  • There are many health observances that have October as their national month. These include Healthy Lungs, Breast Cancer, Lupus, Spina Bifida, Blindness, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
  • The United Kingdom celebrates the 21st as Apple Day.


Sunday, September 25, 2022

Are you ready for some football?

Fall has become more calm now that only two of our four grand kids are involved in sports.  We used to have to juggle cross country, soccer and football but with Brooke in college and Courtney interested in other things we just need to schedule two football games a week. 

Cole plays high school freshman football during the week and Nick plays eighth grade football on the weekends.  We have at least four more years of this to look forward to.  And I do mean look forward because watching our grandkids play their various sports has always been a very enjoyable pass time. 

Shown below is Cole #4 bulldozing his way into the end zone and Nick #10 setting up to throw a pass.  Both guys continue to entertain. 

Sunday, September 18, 2022

End of An Era

 It all began in the spring of 1977-over 45 years ago as of this writing. We had just come off an especially hard winter which featured an ice storm in February of that year that left us without electricity for 4 days.  The house we lived in did not have a fireplace so we had to move to my parent's house.  They didn't have a fireplace either but they did have a gas kitchen range so we lit the oven, left it open and managed to stay warm by huddling in front of it.   Picture that with two children-one toddler and a baby.

It was at that time that I vowed we would somehow figure out a way to install a wood burning stove in our poorly insulated 1840 house because I was determined that we would never be forced out of our house again.  So over the summer of 1977 we did our due diligence, talked to some friends who had wood burning stoves, consulted a mason for a chimney and set the whole process in motion.

By the time winter rolled around in 1977 we had our first wood burning stove up and running.  It was a Franklin stove that we had bought on sale for $100.  While our chimney was being built I had bought a chain saw and with the help of a friend who taught me how to use it I worked up a supply of fire wood.  We were fortunate in that department because my parents lived on 4 acres of land and there was an ample supply dead wood around that could be easily converted to firewood. Nineteen seventy seven was also the year I bought my first pickup truck.  It was a little Chevy step side, 6 cylinder engine, 3 speed stick shift.  It was a great little truck.   So with all of this stuff I was officially a wood whore as my friend Brian called it!

The Franklin stove was great for a year or two but it wasn't air tight so it wouldn't hold a fire all night.  From there I went to an awesome stove called a Vermont Castings Defiant.  It churned out enormous quantities of heat and held a fire all night.  We used that until we sold the old house in 1986 and moved to our current residence.  At that point we bought a smaller Vermont Castings stove called a Resolute.  It was a great stove that we used for the next 30 or so years until we gave it to my daughter for use in her house and we bought a new Vermont Castings Resolute.  We used that stove for 8 years up to now and we'd still be using it but for health reasons having  to do with my wife Sandi we had to discontinue burning wood.

So our wood-burning days have come to a close with the sale of our last wood stove. September 2022 marks the end of 45 years of wood burning.  We plan to install a gas fire place where the wood stove used to be. The upside to this is healthier air in the house, it's cleaner and no more hassles trying to work up a supply of wood every year considering I'm pushing 80.  The down side is the cost of burning propane. 

But I have to admit. I'm going to miss having a nice wood fire on a snowy afternoon. 

Here are our stoves in the order we had them. 

Friday, September 9, 2022

From my story book

As I mentioned on a previous post I will occasionally be posting some of the stories I'm writing.  The entire collection of 52 stories will be published in December.  I'm now on number 37.  Here's number 35.

Story 35: What are my favorite movies?


I haven’t been to a movie in over two years (as of Aug. 2022).  The primary reason for this is because of the COVID pandemic.  A secondary reason is that with two exceptions there simply hasn’t been anything I’ve really wanted to see.   The exceptions are “Elvis” and the “Downton Abbey” movie.  But I’m not too bummed out because they’ll undoubtedly appear on Amazon Prime or Netflix at some point in the not too distant future.


But I digress.  The question is what are my favorite movies? That’s a tough one.  I did a fast Google search and found the IMBd top 10 movies of all time and I was surprised to discover that I too found many of them to be my favorite movies.  Maybe I’m not so far out of the mainstream after all!


So here they are,  in no particular order, my favorite movies that I find myself watching over and over again.


The Shawshank Redemption

The Godfather (Part I)

Pulp Fiction

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (or just about anything with Clint Eastwood in it)


The Sting


The Battle of the Bulge

Kelly’s Heroes (more Eastwood)


The Great Escape

The Bridge on the River Kwai


Men in Black


Gone With the Wind

Killer Angels


So there you have it. You (whoever you are) are probably wondering if I’ve finally gone over the edge but I’m betting men my age would generally agree with this list.  Women, not so much.  For example about the only movie on the list my wife really likes is Gone With the Wind.  For young people the list is even shorter or nonexistent.  My grand children for example (as of this writing August 2022  ages 13, 14, 15 & 18) wouldn’t know what any of them are.  However, my two grand sons (ages 13 and 14) do like Men in Black and one of them likes The Bridge on the River Kwai.  I doubt if my grand daughters have even seen any of them except maybe Men in Black.


Anyway, that’s my list.  What are your favorite movies of all time? 


Next up for Week 36: my favorite TV shows of all time.

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Hello, September

 About September

 Symbols of September

  • Birthstone: Sapphire
  • Flower: Aster


Labor Day
Grandparents Day
Patriot Day
Constitution Day and Week
Rosh Hashanah
Talk Like a Pirate Day

National Hispanic Heritage Month (Sep 15 through Oct 15)

National Potato Month
National Chicken Month
National Piano Month
National Biscuit Month

Interesting Facts about September

  • It is the first month of the Autumn or Fall season.
  • Constitution Week takes place during the month of September.
  • September in the Northern Hemisphere is similar to March in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • American college and professional football begins during the month of September.
  • Many kids begin the school year during this month.
  • Teacher's Day is celebrated in India on September 5.
  • The Anglo-Saxons also called this month Gerst Monath meaning barley month. This is because they would harvest their barley crops during this month.
  • September is often associated with fire because it was the month of the Roman god Vulcan. Vulcan was the Roman god of fire and the forge.

1.The name “September” comes from an old Roman word, “septem,” which actually means 7. That’s right – September was the seventh month of the year on the Roman calendar – It did not become the ninth month until the advent of the Gregorian calendar.

2. The Romans believed that September was looked after by the god of fire. So they always expected fires and volcanic eruptions to occur during this month.

3. Out of all 12 months of the year, September is spelled with the most letters. It contains nine letters, and it happens to be the ninth month of the year. No other months have the same amount of letters as their number in the calendar year.


4. This September “Harvest Moon” is the fullest moon of the year.
When you gaze at it, it looks very large and gives a lot of light throughout the entire night. No other lunar spectacle is as awesome as the Harvest Moon.

5. The first day of fall is typically on September 22 or September 23 in North America. This is when the hours in the day are almost equal to the hours in the night.This occurs at the same time as the Spring Equinox does in Australia.

6. A little-known, but highly significant holiday falls in September. September 17th is Constitution Day, which marks the day that the U.S. Constitution was adopted.

7. There are more pop and classic songs with “September” in the title than any other month.

8. We all know that Labor Day is in September, but did you know that September also has a few  little known holidays? Among these are National Grandparent Day, National Cheese Pizza Day, and National Drink-a-Beer Day.

9. September is known as Harvest Month. It’s a great month to harvest in preparation for the coming winter months. In fact, in Old England, it was called “Haervest-monath”, meaning Harvest Month. Some of the best crops to harvest are onions, apples, raspberries, and tomatoes.

10. Zodiac signs in September are split between Virgo (August 23 – September 22) and Libra (September 23 – October 22).

Virgos are known for being loyal, practical, thoughtful, analytical people who sometimes come off as cold, but it’s only because they’re taking a methodical approach to friendship (like most aspects of their lives).

Libras are a little different. Their main characteristics include being diplomatic and fair. They like harmony, dislike being alone, and always strive for peace and justice in the world.

11. Famous people born in September include Adam Sandler, Amy Winehouse, Bill Murray, Bruce Springsteen, Confucius, Freddie Mercury, Queen Elizabeth, Stephen King, and Sophia Loren. 

12. The birthstone for September is the sapphire which is said to reduce inflammation, treat fever and act as a lucky charm for the person wearing it. It symbolizes intuition, clarity of thought, peacefulness, as well as loyalty and trust.



Thursday, August 25, 2022

Time marches on.

 Here we are, less than a week to September and my last post was over two weeks ago.  It has been a generally quiet period of time.  August is usually very busy with doctors' appointments but other than that there's not a lot going on.  Because of the heat and humidity, I spend more time inside than out.  I can't take the heat like I used to.  

One good thing that's come out of this idle period is I've discovered a new series of books that I'm enjoying.  It's the Lady Hardcastle series.  It's about a British lady who has become an amateur sleuth. She has a Lady's maid named Flo who is an important part of all the cases they handle too.  

It's written in a very British fashion and I find it very funny but it's not for everyone, that's for sure.  Give it a try with book one.

Our oldest grand child is leaving for Rome on Sunday to begin her first semester of college.  It will be a bitter-sweet moment because we're happy for her new adventure but we'll miss her too.  

Other than that, there's not much going on.  Stay tuned.  Something is bound to come up.

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

The Loss of Another Friend

 The older I get the more I realize how fragile life is.  The other night I received a call that yet another good friend of ours had passed away.  I first met him through his wife when I started teaching in 1973.  His wife was a teaching colleague of mine and she, Paul, my wife and I became good friends that lasted these many years.  We are still friends with his wife. Paul was 90 at his passing. 

This marks the last of several friends I've lost over the past few years.  Of course it's to be expected.  After all that's what happens when people get old.  Still it's always a shock and a reminded to value what days we have left, however many there may be.  

Monday, August 1, 2022

Hello, August.

About the month of August



Friendship Day
Raksha Bandhan
Women's Equality Day
National Catfish Month

Harvest Month
National Water Quality Month
Peach Month
National Immunization Awareness Month
Get Ready for Kindergarten Month

Symbols of August

Birthstone: Agate or onyx

Flower: Gladiolus or poppy

Zodiac signs: Leo and Virgo

Interesting Facts about August

It is the last of the summer months.

The Islamic holiday of Ramadan runs from July 19 to August 18 in 2012.

August in the Northern Hemisphere is similar to February in the Southern Hemisphere.

Augustus renamed the month of Sextilis because many of his greatest triumphs occurred during this month.

August is a month of summer vacation and holiday for many children around the world.

Many cultures call this month the harvest month or the time of harvest.




Friday, July 22, 2022

Updated website

 Check out the recent updates to my website.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Two weeks in Hawaii

The reason why you haven't seen anything here in a while is because we've been in Hawaii for the past two weeks.  We spent one week on the island of Maui and the second week on Kauai. 

While Oahu is the most popular island with the city of Honolulu and Wakiki Beach,  it is also the busiest and most crowded.  Maui is the next most popular and Kauai is a close third.  But the whole state is beautiful with some of the most spectacular geography you'll ever see.

This was our second trip there.  We went first four years ago and then this year.  We traveled with my daughter's family.  Traveling is by far the down side to a trip like this.  From waiting in unbelievably long lines at airports to long, long flights makes it necessary to schedule an extended stay.

Check my web site in a few days for pictures.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Welcome, July

About the Month of July

Night Sky


Canada Day
Independence Day
Bastille Day
Parent's Day
National Ice Cream Month

National Blueberry Month
National Hot Dog Month
National Picnic Month
National Pickle Month


Symbols of July

  • Birthstone: Ruby
  • Flower: Larkspur or Water Lily


Interesting Facts about July

  • It is the second summer month after June.
  • There are many countries which have their Independence Day during the month of July. These include the United States, Belarus, Venezuela, Argentina, Belgium, the Bahamas, and the Maldives. The national days for France and Canada occur in July as well.
  • July is the warmest month in the Northern Hemisphere on average. It is similar to January in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • Sometimes the hot, long days of July are called the "dog days of summer".
  • It is sometimes called the Hay month because the grass dries out due to a lack of rain and can be made into hay.
  • July's birthstone, the ruby, is often associated with contentment, love, passion, and integrity.


Sunday, June 19, 2022

We're Still in Trouble!

Have you been watching the Jan. 6th insurrection hearings?  I have and with growing revulsion.  There's absolutely no doubt what ever in my mind that Donald Trump planned and orchestrated the overthrow of the United States.  He should be prosecuted and imprisoned.  Every American should be disgusted.  But are they?  No, as evidenced by comments I heard from several people in Nevada who were being interviewed by reporters.  They're disgusted and appalled-not with Trump-but with the Congressmen holding these hearings.  

They think it's a travesty that there is so much focus on this.  Seriously?  What the hell are they thinking?  Are they really OK with the fact that American democracy was nearly destroyed by a lying, cheating, crooked slob who cares not one bit for this country.  His only care is for...himself.  And there are a good number of people who are OK with that.

Yes, we're still in trouble!

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

What's wrong with this picture?

Pick a school-day morning at any school in just about any town across America-especially towns like the one where I live.  If you get there right at the start of the school day what you will see is a long line of cars-almost all SUVs-sitting there with one or two kids inside with the cars still running.  That line is parents dropping their kids off at school. 

While those cars are sitting there, picture a long line of big yellow vehicles arriving, aka school buses.  What you will observe about those buses is that they are about a third full-maybe!  All this while the American public continues to whine about gas prices.  

Do you see a disconnect here?  I certainly do. 

Tuesday, May 31, 2022



Flag Day
Fathers Day
Paul Bunyan Day
National Rose Month

National Dairy Month
African-American Music Month
National Ice Tea Month
National Candy Month


Interesting Facts about June

  • It is the first month of the summer season.
  • June in the Northern Hemisphere is similar to the month of December in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • June is known as a great month to get married.
  • The famous English tennis tournament Wimbledon is played during the month of June.
  • The longest day of the year occurs on either June 21st or 22nd.
  • Several countries celebrate their flag days during this month including the United States, Sweden, Denmark, Romania, and Argentina.
  • June 21st is Go Skateboarding Day.