Showing posts from May, 2010

Remembering those who served

Memorial Day is one of my favorite holidays. While the meaning of many holidays is lost or altered, the reason we celebrate this last Monday of May seems well honored. Sure, it is a day off from the office or school, it is the unofficial start of summer, and it is the day of barbecues, baseball, beaches, and pools. But, it is also the day everyone is reminded to pause at some point, remembering those who fought for our right to exist: Flags are flying everywhere; parades are taking place down main streets all over the country; and frail, brave gentlemen who made it home 65 years ago are out in force to help mark the day.

Of course, the soldiers who fought in wars before and after World War II deserve mention too. In my own family, I remember being told as a child about two relatives who fought in the Civil War, one of whom was killed when thrown from his horse on his way home. In further tracing of my family history, I learned that one of my sixth and fifth great grandfathers were vete…

February 2014

When I first tried to create some writing momentum here three months ago, I did so courtesy of the just-concluded Winter Olympics in Vancouver, with my first four posts being about the great cold-weather sports I had thoroughly enjoyed watching. While I will enthusiastically watch the next Summer Olympics in 2012, I’m more interested to see what happens in Sochi, Russia, in 2014—will Team Night Train do it again? Will Team USA get a shot at redemption against Team Canada in another hockey classic? Will Ohno, Vonn, Davis, Spillane, etc, come back? It’s way too far off to think about such stuff, let alone write about it. Right?

It seemed too far off to be relevant until the NFL revealed the site of the 2014 Super Bowl--the Meadowlands--and I remembered that it was an Olympics year as well. So come February 2014 we will have a local Super Bowl affair and then the winter games—which could overlap from the dates I’ve seen given for each, although I doubt the networks covering the events wou…

Cousin Pat

Pat is my dad’s first cousin, making her a first-cousin once removed to me. Today would be her 70th birthday, a fact I stumbled upon just recently when scanning family pictures and remembering some of her story. Near the top of this post, she's first pictured by herself, then with her mom, and then again with her mom plus my grandmother in 1950; below, she is pictured at a gathering that took place between her and her uncle's families, and finally she is shown at the wedding of her sister. The youngest of three, she and her family and my dad and his family got together often.

Unfortunately, there are many who experience in their own families or close circles tragic loss, when someone is taken at a young age, and that is the case with Pat. Those who haven’t personally faced such tragic misfortune no doubt have had a chord struck when a news or internet story pops up about such calamity. At age 16, she was killed in a car crash. The car overturned into a small ravine and she was…

On Tweeting, Facebooking, and blogging

When thinking of how I am using different social networking outlets, I wonder what makes me Tweet, share on Facebook, or write something out in length here.

It struck me, then, that my favorite composer, Johann Gambolputty de von Ausfern-schplenden-schlitter-crasscrenbon-fried-digger-dangle-dungle-burstein-von-knacker-thrasher-apple-banger-horowitz-ticolensic-grander-knotty-spelltinkle-grandlich-grumblemeyer-spelterwasser-kürstlich-himbleeisen-bahnwagen-gutenabend-bitte-eine-nürnburger-bratwustle-gerspurten-mit -zweimache-luber-hundsfut-gumberaber-shönendanker-kalbsfleisch-mittler-raucher von Hautkopft of Ulm would have struggled mightily with some of these wonderful sites. I mean, the poor guy wouldn't get more than "Johann Gambolputty de von Ausfern-schplenden-schlitter-crasscrenbon-fried-digger-dangle-dungle-burstein-von-knacker-thrasher-apple-banger-ho" into the Tweet box, and would have only four characters to spare before or after his name in the 420-character limi…

Trees I've planted

I've taken down more trees here than I ever thought I would. Mother Nature has knocked a few over, old age got to a couple, and some poor landscape design (planting big trees too close to each other) and troublesome shedding have led to the demise of others. My intention is to plant at least one tree for each one that comes down. I'm a bit behind in that regard, but I will get there. Some of the trees I have planted and described below are coming along great, while the progress of others is slower.

I'll apologize here for some of the weak pictures: green trees don't always stand out when photographed against other green trees or shrubs--many of the pictures were taken only so that I can check growth over time. Further, I don't always take a picture of something I plant--it's just not something I think to do. Still, I think they all help tell the story.

Among the very first trees I planted was a white (paper) birch. Few trees make me think of northern New England…

Baseball stadiums I've visited

As I make it to more and more of the MLB baseball stadiums, I’m getting asked more frequently if I’ve taken a picture in each ballpark or kept the ticket stub. Most of these games were attended during the "pre check-in" era of social media, so I suppose I need other ways of proving I was there.

Well, it turns out that I have retained just about every ticket stub. Although I have lost a couple along the way, I got into the habit of noting the score on them and throwing them into an old cigar-box-type storage case. I have also taken pictures in many cases, but far from all of them.

Here I will share a brief memory of each stadium, and post a few pictures from some of the games. Since I live close to the home turf of the Yankees and Mets and have been to their old stadiums many times, and their new ones once, I will skip further mention of them.

I’ll list these visits in about the order they occurred. In cases where I have been to both the old and new stadiums of a given team, …


I recently scanned (and had scanned) hundreds of slides and prints dating back to the 1930s through 1970 of mostly my dad’s parents, and particularly his mom and her side of the family. These are among the oldest pictures the family has, and so I was eager to get them all digitally preserved. I presented my father with a CD of these pictures this weekend, and explained that I have a number of others still to process. He went to show me some more old ones that he has, and that led us to dig into some boxes, making us both realize that I have only scanned a small portion of the family’s pictures. Yes, there is still a sizable chunk of old family history to preserve, and while I am glad the older pictures are done, focus can shift to preservation of those from the second half of the 20th century.

Regarding the pictures I’ve scanned thus far, it became clear to me that my Dad’s mom was comfortable in front of the camera. Whether it was a demure pose in front of a flower vase or piece of ne…

Another shrubbery: My viburnum

“It is a good shrubbery. I like the laurel particularly.”

Yeah, that’s a good shrub, but my viburnum mariesii, which I purchased and planted last year, is a great shrub:
The folks in the nursery talked it up well—flowers in the spring, nice symmetrical shape when covered by leaves in the summer or bare in the winter, remarkable foliage in the fall, and the always-important deer and insect resistance. It sounded like a no-brainer. My only reservation was the humongous root ball I'd have to get in the ground. I gave it a little shove in the nursery and was able to rock it, and so figured I could coax it into the hole I had dug after it and several other big plants were delivered. I very much regret not taking pictures of that hole, the root ball, and my ensuing battle with both, but I’ll try to explain my challenging few hours with them here.

To start, I actually wanted to see what it looked like in another spot in the yard; however, when the delivery dude showed up, where it ende…

Where is everybody?

So, I’ve been on Blogger for two months now. I’ve been pretty steady with my posting, trying to get a bunch up pretty quickly and then two or three a week after that. My posts have centered on the ‘interests’ listed in my profile, and have been largely in the 500-word range—hopefully not too long to be cumbersome for the casual passer by, but also meaty enough to tell the whole story. The Analytics function, however, reveals a very limited audience that has me thinking that I am accomplishing little more than trying to keep my writing sharp. Those who have found their way to this page have done so largely at my prodding: If I think a post interesting enough, I Tweet it or Post it to Facebook. I’ve emailed the URL of the blog to a few others which apparently led here as well. Further, there have been a few hits from folks searching various terms, including “MTA gripe”, “Metrocard”, “Al Trautwig NBC Petter Northug”, and “Noisy train crowd”. A few of these were terms used within a post, …