Sunday, December 29, 2013

Another fine Christmas

Yet another Christmas has come and gone. It was my 71st.  They get better and better.  The grand children were their usual generous selves as evidenced by the neat T Shirt shown below.

Friday, December 27, 2013

An Invitation for Suggestions

A month or so before my retirement 9 years ago, I sat down and made a list of things I'd like to do.  One of the things high on the list was to keep this blog.  The other was to sharpen my skills designing web pages and have my own personal web site.

Toward that end, I took continuing education courses on a popular web design application called Dreamweaver.  I then went to a web based company called GoDaddy and purchased my domain name:  Then I paid for a two year web-hosting contract. 

Once I got my web site to look pretty much like I wanted, I uploaded it to GoDaddy's servers.  This happened in May of 2005. 

Since then I have been renewing my hosting contract every two years.  It's fairly cheap.  Less than $100.  Also, at some point after I had been up and running for a while, I learned how to add the code for hit counters.  As of right now (9:30 A.M. 27 December 2013) I have 34,879 page views.  Some of my other pages have much fewer since they were added later.

I am now approaching the point where I have to decide whether or not to renew for another 2 years.  I know my web site is not viewed as often as it once used to within my family.  One reason is because Facebook has usurped the need to keep a photo history of the grand children even though I know there are a number of people who view my website who are not on Facebook. 

So now I have to decide.  Keep the current format or try something very different.  Below is a picture of the index page with the navigation bar across the top.  Much of what I have is pictures, videos and my blog.  Even the link labeled 'odds and ends' is mostly neat little videos.  The problem is I don't really know how much interest people have in this stuff.  With grand children getting older, there are fewer and fewer photo opportunities.

I am therefore opening up this issue to discussion.  What, dear reader, do you think?  What would interest you?    I'm not even sure who accesses my blog from my web site as opposed to the Google Blogspot.  If you access it from my web site you can see a 'contact me' button in the navigation bar.  If not, you can reach me through my gmail address:

One idea I had was to devote my web page to a favorite historical subject like the Civil
War or World War II but there's already so much out there on those kinds of things that it would be kind of repetitive.

So I need help.  Suggestions please.  Should I just keep going like I've have been or take a new direction?  Thank you.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Out of the mouths of children...

I've been spending a lot of time with 6-year-old Cole lately.  He was sick last week and he has no school this week so his parents needed me to watch him for periods of time.

It's amazing what goes on in his head.  For example yesterday we visited his kindergarten teacher to give her the Christmas gift Cole couldn't give her last Friday because he was out sick.

He noticed she had several presents piled under her Christmas tree and this aroused a great deal of curiosity about how they got there and how she managed to get on Santa's early-delivery list.  I fudged the answer as best I could which seemed to satisfy him-for a while anyway.

The next thing he wanted to know was how I liked being old.  I told him I didn't have any problem being old as long as I felt well and do things.  Then he wanted to know why people had to die.  I tried to explain in 6-year-old terms that life is a cycle and that nothing lives forever so that room could be made for new life to have a chance.  That didn't work because then he said well just move to where there's more room so I had to take a different approach and try to explain that as people age their bodies wear out and then new life takes over. 

Later on he saw a picture in my Reader's Digest magazine of a soldier who was smiling because he had just rec'd a new leg after having lost his real one in Afghanistan.  This prompted a whole series of questions.  Why was he smiling if he had no leg? Why do people fight? Why do countries fight and shoot and kill and hurt each other?  Why can't they stop doing things like that?  All excellent questions and extremely hard to answer.  Sometimes the best answer is "I don't know".  He doesn't usually buy that though.  He basically demands that I at least speculate on an answer which I attempt to do in a very clumsy way. 

Eventually he has enough to think about until the next time he hears or sees something that prompts a whole new round of questioning.  Hope I or whoever is there is ready.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Duck Dynasty and the History Channel

Did you hear about the controversy swirling around the Duck Dynasty patriarch and his comments regarding homosexuality?  It seems the History Channel has deemed the remarks too controversial and they've removed him from the show.  The rest of the family along with many vocal supporters of the show have expressed their outrage over the decision.  As it stands now, the future of the program is very much in doubt.

First of all, I do not watch this show.  I have heard of it and I know it has a strong following-principally in the south and midwest.

The whole thing brings to mind a number of questions.  First, what on earth do people find entertaining about a family who makes duck calls and preaches bigotry and exclusion? 

Second, and more fundamentally, what on earth is happening to the History Channel?  Between Duck Dynasty, God, Guns and Automobiles, Pawn Stars (which I do watch from time to time) and a whole host of other similar shows I think the History Channel has lost its way.

I used to watch the History Channel more often before it turned to 'reality programming'.  It used to be much more informative with shows that were, well, history.  I guess some programming director somewhere has determined that there are more reality show fans than there are old people like me who actually enjoy learning about history.

I think the trend is unfortunate but not surprising.  All of television is going in this direction.  Thank goodness for books-enjoy them while we still have them.

Monday, December 16, 2013

A New Day

It's a new day, and psychologically,  a new year.  Time to move on and focus on the holidays.  Mother Nature-in the form of nasty winter weather-will do her part as well in helping us to refocus.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

One Year

 Exactly one year ago today there occurred the worst possible thing that can happen to a person.  Worse than poor health, financial ruin, divorce, just about anything you can think of.  People lost their loved ones-20 of whom were children which in my mind is the worst of the worst.

Since that time a deep hole has opened up in the collective spirits of an entire town and to a lesser extent the state and nation.

Yet, people move on.  They do their jobs, enjoy their families and generally carry on with their lives but of course never forgetting.

Such is the strength of the human spirit.  The will to keep going.  May it never be extinguished. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

More of Life's Little Annoyances

Everyone has days when a number of things occur to add to their 'annoyance factor'.  I recently had such a day.  Here's the list in no particular order:

1. The Handshake:  The fuss conservative media made over Obama's handshake with Cuban president Castro was over the top.  The solution to these kinds of idiocy is of course not to watch shows like Fox News.  I never watch Fox News yet the comments boiled over to what one would think are more reasonable news outlets.  How ridiculous.

2. The Jogger (two actually):  As everyone knows yesterday was a very wintry day.  A snow storm occurred serving to create very slippery roads.  Schools were cancelled.  Wouldn't you think that under such circumstances  jogging along a hilly, curvy, snow-covered road would be ill-advised?  Well, not to two such people who I encountered slipping and sliding their way along the road.  I admire their quest to live a healthy life, but I think they may have missed the mark in this case.  Instead of being healthy, they're going to be in a hospital with multiple fractures.  Idiots.

3. The Realities of Life:  This morning I read that the husband of a couple with whom we used to play golf passed away. He and his family were long-time residents of Newtown.  When he retired, they moved to Hew Hampshire.  His daughter is a former fifth grade student and interestingly his father who was a surgeon removed my tonsils when I was 13 years old.  He was 'only' 73 so his death is not only sad but a tad close to home.  Years ago when I was 'young' when I heard of someone dying at the age of 73 I would think they lived a good, long life but now that I'm very close to 71 it doesn't seem so old.  My father had just turned 72 when he died but I think he would have lived much longer had he taken care of himself. 

Final annoyance of the day:

4. ME.  Yes, me.  I cleaned my wood stove yesterday and as usual the bucket was full of ashes and hot coals.  Now and then you hear about someone putting a container of hot ashes near combustible materials and the next thing you know they have a fire.  Not me.  I'm smarter than that.  I put the bucket on the driveway during the snow yesterday thinking the snow would serve to put out the coals and the bucket was far away from anything that could ignite.  Sometime later I got into my truck to go to Lockwood Lodge, backed out of the garage and, yup, backed right over the bucket.  That almost matches the time I backed through the garage door which I had forgotten to open.  Smart, huh? I manage to bang the bucket back into shape but the bottom is separating from the sides.  Think I better get a new one?  Of course I will.  After all, I'm not stupid!

Saturday, December 7, 2013


I'm not surprised why many people go through periods of depression at this time of year.  Life doesn't put things on hold just because this is supposed to be a festive time. Several things come to mind that remind me of this. 

The first is the deteriorating condition of a 90-year-old friend of mine who lives in a nursing home in Southbury.  I visit with him every week and there's been a noticeable decline.  Also, his brother reports that he's been having 'mini' strokes.  I don't think he has much time left.

The second may seem trivial to some but not to me or others affected.  A family dog is very ill. I'm afraid it won't be long for her either.

Finally, we approach the one-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook tragedy.  That event is weighing heavily on the minds of just about everyone in Newtown and even elsewhere.

Nevertheless, there's plenty to be happy about. A recent trip to our condo in Naples over the Thanksgiving weekend with the entire family serves as a constant reminder that we have much to be thankful-and happy-for.