I started this website back in the late 1990s as a way for friends to keep up with my activities. The site has expanded since then in many ways beyond the few, simple pages of content I began with. I've met a lot of great folks from all around the world because of this site, and look forward to meeting many more.
The web in general has grown and changed considerably as well. Static personal web sites such as this one have mostly been replaced with interactive blogs, and other online social media and social networking sites such as Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Snapchat, etc.
As a senior web based business applications software engineer, I watched all of this development over the years with great interest, seeing what a remarkable change this was for building communicative relationships on a huge scale. When I started this site, not only wasn't that possible, it was unheard of.
But I had, and still have, no interest in broadcasting my activities to the world through these social media venues. Rather, I simply chose to continue with this basic, straight forward format.
The businesses I have, and have had, as referenced here are not social media type entities, anyway. They're simply activities that I engage in. Clients find me either by stumbling onto (er... that would be referred to) this site, word of mouth, or through standard marketing and advertising methods.
This isn't a web blog with interesting things being written about. It's just a way for me to record the ordinary things going on in our lives, as well as a central listing of the other activities I'm engaged in. I enjoy writing, and so this was more of a relaxing escape for me from my busy work life, and now a relaxing enhancement for me in retired life, than it is to provide witty entertainment for casual visitors.
Pitiful Disclaimer.... I'm sorry, but many times I get far behind in creating and posting the detail page and corresponding pictures that go along with an event entry. Bear with me as I try to keep up with these postings....
It was a beautiful clear day with temps in the 50s as we headed out. The hike up on both the backside trail we took as well as the main trail is just enough to get you puffing a little. Beau loved it, running all over the place until we got almost to the top where there are some side looping trails where we had to put him on his leash.
We took a different route driving back home onto River Road. It had been a long time since I had driven that, and glad that we opted to do it as it's such a pretty ride. It's rough in spots, mostly gravel, but a surging stream, Mad River, runs alongside of it. We stopped at a small pull off by a bridge, and walked down to the water. Beautiful.
On the way up, we stopped at The Flume Gorge State Park and spent a couple of hours waling the loop trail. I'm glad Sue had suggested it because it had been 20 years since either of us had been there.
After touring all around the Franconia and Sugar Hill areas, we drove to our hotel, The Inn At Sunset Hill. We relaxed in the inn's downstairs sitting room, chatted with the staff, and played backgammon until we decided to try their new chef's food in the pub restaurant. It was wonderful! We had such a good time.
06/13/18: Cookout at Marissa's
On Wednesday evening 06/13/18, Sue and I went to Marissa's at 5:30pm for a cookout to celebrate a late birthday with her as they were off to Mohegan Sun for the weekend. We had originally planned to take them out to dinner, but it had been such a hectic week for them that Marissa just wanted to stay home and have a cookout.
In the morning, Sue and I drove over to Butternut Farm and picked 4 small boxes of fresh strawberries. Going to Butternut is always a fun experience as it's such a lovely place.
Sue pressing forward toward the huge strawberry picking field.
On the way home, we stopped at Home Depot and Walmart to get a bunch of things, though Sue couldn't wait to get home and had to grab a coffee at Dunkin Donuts. After putting the groceries away, Sue whipped up a super potato salad to take to the party.
It's still bike week, and the motorcycles are driving around all over the place, though the center for them is over in Laconia and the Weirs Beach area. But Route 11 is busy with not only them, but the general starting of summer traffic - even on a Wednesday.
Today is also my brother Alan's birthday - his 88th! To celebrate, he and the family went out to dinner at one of his favorite nearby restaurants, Vito Ristorante Italiano. Happy B-Day, Bro! From your bro what loves you despite your failings and abnormalities....
Scott took this picture of Alan (again, hamming it up for the camera), Abbie, and Justin having Alan's 88th Birthday dinner at nearby Vito Ristorante Italiano.
And we had a lovely visit with Marissa, Gary, and Mia. Since it was a little chilly to sit outside by the pool as Marissa had hoped, we just relaxed in the porch and looked out at the pool instead.
Mia has become quite the chatter box, and kept Sue totally entertained. As the chicken and steak kabobs were cooking on the grill, we all went outside and sat around one of the tables out on the deck. But Mia wasn't interested in anything to do with dinner, and kept sliding out of her chair and wandering off, wanting Sue to find stuff for her.
Mia and Marissa in the kitchen getting things ready to take outside for dinner.
And, when it was time for Mia to go to bed, she even wanted Sue to take her upstairs and read to her. After Sue came back down, we sat outside for a little while before heading inside where it was a little warmer. We didn't want to stay too late on a busy work week night for Marissa and Gary, and so we headed off around 9:00pm. Such a nice, relaxing visit.
Later, she drove us up to Wolfeboro where we wandered around the dock area until 11:45 when we boarded the Millie B.
The Millie B ready for boarding! Beautiful, just beautiful.
Then Sue drove me over to the N.H. Boat Museum that was so much fun. On the way home, we stopped at the Alton Circle Store and got a pizza for dinner. I set up the backgammon board on the screened porch, we toasted to a wonderful day, and had a nice party.
Sue gave me a wonderful birthday: her terrific ideas of neat stuff she knew I'd enjoy, and her time sharing it with me.
06/17/18: Father's Day
It was so great that Colin came over Sunday morning for a Father's Day visit. He brought breakfast sandwiches for us, and we took them and cups of coffee up to the screen porch.
It was a beautiful day, and we sat in the Adirondack chairs enjoying the day and just talking.
Sue yelled up at us from the house and snapped this shot of us waving back at her.
It was so thoughtful of him to call me, bring a card, and then spend his time with me. A true gift of my life.
And to top it all off, Sue and I worked together in the kitchen sipping a nice William Hill Sauvignon Blanc while fixing sautéed chicken breasts covered with a creamy tarragon and shiitake mushroom sauce. And for desert, Sue had made a wonderful Lemon Ricotta With Berry Compote.
06/21/18: First Day of Summer!
What great weather today! Just right for the first day of Summer.
First on the agenda was Sue took Beau for a walk and then loaded him into the car for his first ever trip to a groomer. He was amazed....
I don't think Beau is too sure about what's going on at this point....
When Sue brought him home, he just tore-ass all over the yard. Not sure if that was just being frisky, or relieved that the ordeal was over.
But, back in his own yard, he's relaxed.
And looking good!
Later that afternoon, Sue and I relaxed out on the screen porch, sipped a glass of wine, and played a couple of sets of backgammon. We headed out for Alton Bay around 5:30pm for an early dinner at Shibley's at the Pier. Shibley's sits right on the Bay, with outside dining and boat tie-ups. And the food is terrific. Here's the Yelp! review I wrote:
When we got back home, Rick from the mower repair shop had dropped my Cub Cadet off. I patted it's hood and told it we had a lot of grass to cut in the morning. It was really getting out of control, and I wanted the yard to be nice as Lucas and Rachel would be visiting for the weekend.
Of course, that didn't work out.... I got up Friday morning, jumped in the saddle, and wheeled the cub cadet around the yard. I was just doing the 4th run, and it stopped cold. Nothing. There wasn't even a hiss when I turned the key.
It's probably something wrong with the ignition. I know about a gnat's ass worth on engine stuff, so just left it sitting in the yard. I went in and called Rick. He agreed that it sounded like ignition, but warned me about getting spare parts by saying something comforting like, "You do know how old that machine is, right?" Terrific. See you sometime Sunday, Rick....
Sue worked most of the rest of the afternoon in the yard on her flower and vegetable beds. I came out around 3:00 and did some watering because the predicted rain earlier in the week didn't happen. It had been sunny and hot out for the last few days, and the ground was pretty dry.
We came in, got cleaned up, and parked it out on the screen porch to sip some wine and relax over the backgammon board while the pizza baked in the oven. We finished off the evening with the really good 2017 movie Molly's Game staring Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, and Kevin Costner.
06/23/18: Lucas and Rachel Visit
Lucas and Rachel came for a short visit before heading back to L.A. For dinner Saturday I fixed a curried potatoes, chickpeas, and carrots with cilantro over herb flavored brown rice as the main course with sautéed asparagus, onions, and mixed wild mushrooms as a side. Lots of moving parts to that main dish, so we didn't eat until 7:45.
Rachel had to leave to visit her dad around noon on Sunday. While Lucas got onto the computer to work on a project that was due early next week, Sue and I headed off to Rochester to Mia's birthday party.
We got back from the party around 3:30 after stopping to shop for ribs and other ingredients that we were going to fix for dinner. Lucas was still working, and so while I got the ribs marinating, Sue made up a potato salad. After I shucked the corn, Sue buttered them, sprinkled them with pepper and chives, and wrapped them in aluminum foil.
Being all set with dinner prep work, we played some backgammon out on the screen porch until 6:45 when it was time for me to light the grill. I grabbed a glass of wine and headed out with the marinated ribs and corn on the cob. The cooking went smoothly, though I was running about 15 minutes over. Lucas had come downstairs from working just before I came in with the ribs and corn, and so timing was perfect. And the food was as well!
After dinner we watched the incredibly stupid 2018 movie Annihilation. Truly sleep inducing for what should have been not only a visually spectacular movie, but a great story idea. It was corny beyond my understanding.
Sue took Lucas out for breakfast Monday morning so they could have some nice one-on-one time. Just after they got back, the sun sprayed out from behind the clouds from the overnight rain. We had been lucky with the weather as thunderstorms had been predicted for the area for the last few days. But all it had done is be very overcast with just the occasional evening sprinkle. Well, up here on the mountain, anyway.
06/24/18: Mia is 3!!
Sunday, while Lucas worked on his project, Sue and I drove down to Rochester to attend my granddaughter Mia's 3rd birthday party.
Mia on her 3rd Birthday.
She must have been in the pool because I got soaked giving her a hug. And then she was off! There were kids everywhere, and it was easy to see that she was having a great time.
We had a bite to eat and chatted with as many folks as we could, but were only able to stay for a little over an hour. We had to stop on the way home to shop for dinner, and Sue wanted to spend some time with Lucas.
It wouldn't be long before he and Rachel were off to L.A., and she wouldn't be able to see him again for quite a long time. But she had so wanted to see Mia, if only briefly, on her great 3rd birthday!
While we were at the party, the sun peeked out of the clouds for just enough time for Mia to want to get back in the pool. She ran over to where her safety gear was and insisted, quite adamantly, that someone get the stuff on her so she could go into the pool.
Tear-assing around the yard!
Gary's mom and friend playing a game at Mia's pirate themed party.
It took her awhile to plunge in, though. Because it had been so cloudy during the last few days, and really chilly at night, the water wasn't exactly warm. But eventually, in she went! She came out just as we were getting ready to leave, and Sue and I both got the nicest hugs from her. How great is that!
Happy 3rd Birthday, Mia!
06/27/18: Morning Climb Up Pine Mountain
Sue, Beau, and I headed out Wednesday morning 06/27/18 with my karate disciple Eleanne Solorzano, her mom, and daughter to climb Pine Mountain in Alton.
We wanted to get an early start as the temperature was supposed to climb into the high 80s. The hike though the woods was nice, and even the top wasn't too hot by the time we got up there. Beau had a good time, racing ahead and then dashing back.
But by the time we got back home, it was getting really warm. Glad we got out early for the climb.
06/30/18: Morning Hike and Barnstead Farmer's Maarket
Sue had wanted to check out the Barnstead Farmer's Market, but because the temperature was supposed to climb into the 90s today (Saturday), she wanted to get Beau out for a walk first.
Despite the already humid air, I put on a pair of jeans because the bugs had just drove me nuts when were out walking in the woods at Pine Mountain the other day. I'm glad I did, and then doused myself with bug spray because Sue took us a new place to walk that was really though the woods.
One of the paths used to be a narrow, gravel connector road, but the bridge across a small river had crumbled away leaving the road to decay and become washed out. The trees and bushes on both sides were now overhanging, forming a sort of cooling arch, but it was really getting hot. And the mosquitoes and flies were really aggravating poor Beau. And me....
Sue knew of a couple of places where the river ran close, and Beau had no problem wadding around in the cooling water. But, of course, with the cooling river water comes the muddy banks that Beau loves to tromp though, sometimes deciding to roll around in it. Terrific...
The walk, though refreshing, still wore me out anyway just from the humidity. We jumped back in the car, drove home, and got somewhat cooled down after changing clothes before we headed out to the Barnstead Farmer's Market.
It's just a quick drive down Route 28, but that wasn't the point. It was an adventure!
It turns out to have been more than just an adventure: we met Nathan who does custom wooden signs. I had been wanting to get Sue a Twilight Farm sign for the barn to celebrate her change-over to Twilight Farm Photography for her photography work.
We had a nice chat with Nathan, who came up with a couple of designs that Sue had mentioned she would like to see. It shouldn't take him long to get it made up for her.
The market was more of a crafts fair than a true farmer's market. It was fun, but I think we were hoping for more of seeing produce selections from the surrounding farms than checking out crafts booths. But it was fun, and without going I wouldn't have seen Nathan's booth to get Sue a great sign for the Barn.
Sue wanted to stop in the Dollar General that was just around the corner from the market. She had been hinting at my reaction to her thoughts on getting a kids wading pool for Beau. Seems she had seen one at Aubuchon Hardware at the Alton Circle the other day, and thought he'd enjoy that while she was out in the yard gardening.
I thought it was really pushing things to be getting a wadding pool for a dogggg, but she wanted to stop and check to see what their prices were. And, wouldn't you know it: right there outside the door was a stack of small, plastic kids wading pools for the mere price of $8. Sold. Done. Stuffed it into the back of the Forrester, and lugged it home.
07/01/18: Great Sunday Meal and Movie
Sunday started out hot, and ended hotter. It was pretty tough, and it's expected to get worse as the week progresses.
I was surprised with the crazy shopping crowds at the Hannaford's market. We got there mid afternoon, and there were people everywhere. It was probably because this was a long 4th of July holiday vacation week for a lot of folks coming up to the area.
I had been wanting to fix this simple Lemon Garlic Butter Herb Chicken with a side of asparagus, so the bulk of the shopping was for this. With as hot as it was, this would be a perfect, quick meal to prepare. I'm glad we didn't have too much stuff to find, because all I wanted to do was get out of the crowds!
I followed the recipe for the chicken pretty closely, which is not really normal for me. But, it was just about how I would have done it anyway with the main herbs listed: oregano, thyme, and rosemary. The sequence was a little different than I might have thought, I learned something new, and it came out super.
I did wing it with the asparagus, though. I sauteed them rather than steaming, adding onion, red pepper, shiitake and bella mushrooms, in a white wine, thyme, rosemary, and butter sauce to complement the chicken.
To top of the night we watched the 2018 movie Forever My Girl. What a terrific movie! We both really enjoyed it, but I was particularly taken by it. It was so well acted and done that I wouldn't mind owning it.
07/03/18: 4th of July Fireworks at Ossipee Lake
Sue and I drove up to Ossipee Lake late Tuesday afternoon 07/03/18 to see the 4th of July Fireworks from her brother's wife's family camp.
Fireworks were supposed to start around 9:30, and so as the late afternoon and early evening wore on, a dozen or so of her niece's and nephew's, and great (and great-great!) nieces and nephews arrived.
We had a great time watching the kids splashing around in the water, and running all over the place. The weather was just perfect, and not too many mosquitoes were on the prowl. There was a lot of boat traffic across the lake from the cove that the house sits in, and it was nice to sit on the deck and watch all the holiday activity.
Alan's wife Joann brought cold cuts and macaroni salads for those who were hungry. They were having another party and cookout on the 4th, and so this was just a simple get together for those who wanted to watch the fireworks.
07/04/18: Low Key 4th of July on the Mountain
Because we've had such a busy week, and then great time last night up in Ossipee, we just had a low key Wednesday around the house for the 4th of July.
Sue took this nice picture through the kitchen window this afternoon.
07/07/18: Kayaking on the Merrymeeting River
It had been so hot for the last few days (in the 90s with really high humidity) we were afraid that it would be that way all weekend. However, a couple of good rain storms brought cooling weather, and so on Saturday we loaded the kayaks onto my car and went kayaking on the Merrymeeting River for a few hours.
Sue spotted this American Bald Eagle circling the river looking for food.
She got this great picture of him soaring away.
Sue took this as we crossed under the Merrymeeting Road bridge.
07/13/18: Blueberry Picking at Norland Berries
Since the currency trade I have held for too long now is still not cooperating, and because it was a beautiful Friday morning, I jumped in the car with Sue around 10:00 am to go blueberry picking at Norland Berries in Barnstead, NH.
What a great place. It was my first time visiting there, and they have a beautiful 85 acre spread. We picked for about an hour and totally filled up a 7 pound bucket. At $2.25 a pound, Sue had all she thought she needed to make pie, ice cream, and cookies. We're going to be eating a lot, a lot, of blueberries....
Sue having the best time filling her bucket with blueberries at Norland Berries in Barnstead, NH Friday 07/13/18
And it was such a beautiful day; just perfect. The sun was out but not blazing as it has been with temps just under 80F. I had so much fun, I didn't even think about my open position; that'll do what it'll do and I'll just have to wait this one out over the weekend.
After paying, we thought we'd continue to follow the road and see where it would come out. Sue remembers every road and flower everywhere she's been, and so when we got to some corner by a small lake, she knew right where to go from there. Good thing, as I had no clue. Actually, I didn't really care as she was driving, and I could just gape around for a change.
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