For this year's events from January to now, see this year's archive page
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....
08/13/16: Vacation to Nova Scotia
Sue and I headed out on Saturday 08/13/16 for an 8 day vacation and genealogical research project to Nova Scotia. We sailed out of Portland, ME on The CAT ferry to Yarmouth where we picked up a rental car and spent the night at The Lakelawn Motel and Cottages.
We selected Nova Scotia for our first exploration of Canada because Prince Edward Island is just a little too pastoral for my taste, and we didn't have the time to really investigate north of Halifax. We would like to go back, though, and see Cape Breton and the Sydney area at some point; this trip was more for Nova Scotia genealogical fun than anything.
Over the whole trip, we both preferred the south shore of Nova Scotia over the north shore. Because we really enjoy the type of scenery along the coast of Maine north of Portland, we found it very similar to driving east along the south shore of Nova Scotia.
The northern shore is predominately French (whereas the south is Scottish) and is more sparse with relatively no "quaint" fishing villages for tourists. It's on the Bay of Fundy, which is a pretty rough place to make a living, and everything there reflects that.
08/26/16: Surprise Birthday Celebration for Neil
Colin had called earlier to invite us to go out on the boat and raft up with Neil's new boat Puffin and celebrate Neil's 80th birthday.
He picked us up at 6:15pm, and drove us down to Roger's. Ren was already there and had stopped and picked up subs and water to have later. Isaac was bringing a small cake so things were looking good! We had hoped to see Issac's mom and dad out there, but they didn't get back in time. However, Tom and Doreen pulled up in their boat to join us.
We had a great time, 3 boats rafted up in the cove with Neil's Puffin celebrating a great milestone with a great friend. When the Colin and Marissa were young growing up on the water, they used to hop off the end of our dock, swim out to Neil's boat Ming, and spend hours jumping off the bow and harassing Neil as he worked on some project.
It was so nice to see Neil. We had missed him last year when he was up with Ming. So, this was a really special visit so we could see his new boat. So glad Colin had called as Neil is heading south in the next couple of weeks.
08/27/16: Cirque du Soleil
Saturday 08/27/16 we headed out to see Cirque du Soleil Ovo in Manchester, NH. Sue had spotted this and organized a group outing for us, Lucas and Jill, Marissa and Gary, and my 1st Degree Black Belt student Eleanne Solorzano and her daughter Michaela. Colin and Ren weren't able to make it because as we were driving over to Manchester for the show, they were on their way to a wedding on Long Island.
Since we were all coming from different directions, Sue and I decided to head over early and just kick around Elm street for awhile. Sue spotted an ice cream shop, and that was a treat in the heat blanket that had settled over the area.
The show itself was wonderful. I think Michaela is all set to join up; she was full of questions about what you had to do to be a member. I'm sure that she'll be wanting to go to the next show that comes around.
After the show, most of us drove over to the terrific little Nepalese restaurant, Cafe Momo, on Hanover Street for dinner. Cafe Momo is one of Sue and my favorite 'different' restaurants. We all had a great time, and we got back home just after 9:00 pm. Great day!
09/01/16: Rod Stewart Concert
I had bought tickets as a surprise gift for us to see Rod Stewart at The Meadowbrook in Laconia, NH Thursday evening 09/01/16. My karate disciple Russ Jones and Heidi, who were going with us, offered dinner at their house before going over, and then to spend the night.
We left home about 4:15 pm, rushing out the door as soon as Sue got home from work, and got up to Russ and Heidi's at 5:30 pm. We had a great time seeing their house for the first time, and chatting over a glass of wine until dinner on the front porch.
At 71, Rod Stewart is still rocking it out. He sang for almost 2 hours with a short 20 minute break, and it was just terrific. We had hoped that he might sing some of his recent works from the American Songbook series, but he filled the night with old hit after hit.
Friday morning, after having a great breakfast with Russ and Heidi, we headed out to do some property drive-bys in Laconia, Sanbornton, and up to Meredith; about 6 places. What sounds good in a property description certainly has to be taken with a grain of salt. Once again, we were disappointed in all of them. But that's okay. It's all part of the process.
From Meredith, we drove to Sue's brother Alan's camp on Ossipee Lake. We had a great time visiting with Alan and Joanne, and had a wonderful cookout on the grill overlooking the lake. We stayed listening to the wavelets lapping on the beach, and the distant cry of a loon until dusk.
09/04/16: Muffins For Neal on Puffin
Sue and I drove over to the Great Bay Yacht Club and met up with Neal who rowed in to shore from his new boat Puffin. Sue had baked some muffins for him, and had gotten him a plant for the boat to keep him company.
While we stood chatting, we met many of the club members. What was so sweet was that when Neal introduced me as Colin's dad, they all commented on what a great guy Colin was, and how much they all respected him. And each one mentioned how they had enjoyed watching him, his sister Marissa, and all of the "River Rats", growing up and all charging around the river as a group in their small boats.
We're glad that we got a chance to see Neal before he heads off for the long trip in Puffin down along the coast and Inter-Coastal Waterway to Florida for the winter.
09/05/16: Labor Day Family Crisis
We got a call from Sue's brother Alan that their mom Joanne had been taken to Memorial Hospital in North Conway, NH. We jumped into the car and met them there after 2 hours battling through Labor Day traffic.
After a couple of days of tests, they finally determined that she had had a stroke. We all sort of guessed that from the start and were rather upset with what we felt was poor diagnostic care at the hospital. They're probably fine for stitches and broken arms, but not this sort of thing from our view point.
Regardless, they transfered her to Northeast Rehabilitation Center in Newington, NH; about 10 minutes from us. Over the next few days we we all took turns going to see her, encouraging her in her therapy progress in getting stronger, and keeping her company. And each day she seemed to get a little better.
09/12/16: A Sad Family Day
Sue got a call at 5:30 am Monday morning 09/12/16 from her niece Tracy that her mom Joanne had died. This came as a total shock because she seemed to have been doing so well.
After pulling ourselves together, Sue and I drove over to the center, collected Joanne's things, and drove up to Ossipee, NH to Alan's. From there, we went to Joanne's sister Carol's to tell her in person. That was a difficult thing for everyone as Carol herself is not well.
And from there, we all went up to Wolfeboro to meet with Rick Gagne of the Baker and Gagne Funeral Home to make arrangements. It was decided to have a simple graveside ceremony followed by a celebration of life gathering for all of her friends and family at the O.C.C hall in Ossipee where Joanne had spent so much time and has so many friends.
Sue and I drove back up to Ossipee on Tuesday to do what we could with the family. What can you do.... I've duplicated her obituary that Sue's niece Tracy wrote for reference.
09/14/16: Kayak For Jill
Wednesday was Sue's "meltdown day" from all of the natural and expected tensions and frustrations she'd been through. Her cousin Debi, who had been with the family throughout this ordeal, scooped Sue up and off they went for the afternoon to walk the beach and search for sea glass.
They had a beautiful day, with the rain holding off just until they stepped back in the door when it started to pour. Debi stayed for awhile chatting with us, and then headed off for her home in Tuftonboro, NH.
But despite her own pain, Sue still thinks of others. After sitting down at the computer to check emails after Debbie left, she spotted an ad for a used kayak and thought it was worth going to take a look at as a possible gift for her daughter Jill. And it was. A terrific deal with paddles, life jacket, and foam pads and lines for a roof carrying system.
By the time we got back, it was 7:00 pm. We fixed some left overs, watched a little tv, and then Sue headed off to bed as she was just exhausted. It's been a long and trying time for her with little I can do to ease any pain.
09/17/16: Brian and Michelle's Wedding Celebration
Sue and I joined my karate disciple Brian Serven and his wife Michelle at the Meadow Farm Bed & Breakfast to celebrate their recent wedding.
Meadow Farm sits on fifty acres of lovely
fields and woods in Northwood, NH that was the perfect backdrop for the day.
It was great to meet their family and friends, some for the first time on such a spectacularly beautiful early Fall afternoon.
We all participated in pictures while a musician serenaded the reception guests with wonderful cello selections.
After pictures, we all sat down under a large tent for a terrific luncheon mix of vegetarian Italian and Indian selections.
09/20/16: From Linux back to Windows....
Not long ago I railed against Microsoft Windows 10 and moved my operating system to Linux Ubuntu Mint.
I love Linux, and with the Mint wrapper, a casual user would not even be aware of the platform difference other than how updates are handled and how apps are installed.
However, as a software developer, I found it problematic migrating all of my scripts and programming tools into the Linux environment. A couple of things I just could not get to work, so I called a consultant to find out what I needed to know.
The long and short of that conversation was that I was attempting to work with the more complex aspects of the operating system. He cautioned that my learning curve would be quite steep: many, many months of nothing but focus on Linux systems and tools.
I never was a systems or tools guy. My interest and expertise is the analysis, design, and development of complex business applications. The rest of it is just plumbing to me. I threw up several times....
And so today, my friend Ric Carter of Computer Authorities Plus came over, listened to me briefly whine, and then with coffee in hand, he ripped out Linux and installed Windows 10.
Oh, sure, he ran into a few problems during the install, and I ran into printer installation issues that he had to connect up to me to resolve a few days later. But all in all, it took me just a couple of days transitioning all of my development tools and other applications into Windows 10.
Once again, I am captive to Microsoft....
09/24/16: Sue's Mom's Memorial Service
Saturday 09/24/16 Sue and I drove up to Ossipee, NH for Sue's Mom's Memorial Service.
We had gone up
Friday and spent the day making arrangements for today's service. It had been a long day; so many things to do.
The memorial service was at the Effingham Falls Cemetary in the Stoddard family site. It was a simple service, officiated by Mary Edes who not only provide comforting words for the family, but sang several very moving songs as a tribute.
09/26/16: Closing on an era
I met up in Portsmouth, NH with my friend, karate stuedent, and real estate agent Tom Toye where he and
my attorney Alex Nossiff assisted me in the sale of a
building I had owned at 24 Columbia Court since the late 1970s.
It was simply time to pass the torch, and let someone new (and younger!) carry this building forward.
I did have a special attachment to this building because I had lived there myself back in the early 1980s for a couple of years.
Columbia Court was the 5th building that I had purchased in Portsmouth at the time, and in tough shape. I put a lot of money into that building over the years, but it turned out to be a good investment for me particularly as I now move into retirement.
09/30/16: 2016 Annual Karate Disciple Retreat
My 2016 Annual Karate Disciple Retreat started Friday morning 09/30/16 at 8:00am and continued until Sunday at noon.
As usual, it was a pretty intense and demanding series of presentations and discussions.
Friday night we had a simple spaghetti dinner, but Saturday night, everyone pitched in starting around 5:00pm to help prepare a lemon chicken meal on a bed of thyme steamed rice with sides of sauted mushrooms and green beans with onion and squash.
Because of the scope of discussions that I wanted to have over the three days, I had created and printed up a 30 page study guide for everyone. That way, they could all follow along as I worked my way through the material.
10/07/16: Columbus Day Weekend
Sue and I headed out around 9:00 am Saturday morning 10/07/16 to check out the foliage. Though it began to cloud in late afternoon,
it was a bright sunny day while we were out.
We didn't have any particular agenda for the trip in mind when we set out; just to "...head north". We took Route 4 out to the Lee Traffic Circle to get coffee - a critical component of any trip - before continuing through Northwood, up Main Street, and north on Route 107 into the Pittsfield, NH area.
We wandered around on the back roads through Gilmington, down to Loudon, and then back up through Canterbury where we stopped at the Shaker Village for lunch. From there, more wandering the back roads until we ended up in the Belmot area. From there, we drove Route 140 East, eventually hooking up onto Route 126 and 9 back home to Dover just after 3:00 pm; about a 6 hour adventure!
Sunday broke with a chilly drizzle that kept up most of the day. Sue was off early for a yoga class, and then to meet up with Lucas for lunch in Epping. After shopping for the pork roast with vegitables in a curry cream sauce I was fixing for dinner, I hauled in some wood from the garage and built a fire in the fireplace; our first of the season.
After catching up on getting some of her photography ready for a show at the Dover Library this coming November, Sue wanted to get an early start on our weekly backgammon series. The fire was a nice touch as a cold drizzle continued through the night. I'm not so sure about my vegitable dish, but at least the movie of the night, the 2016 Me Before You, was good!
We woke up Monday, Columbus Day (and from what I'm hearing, there's a movement on to rename this day to People's Day), to clear skies and bright sun. At 39 degrees, though, just a little cold to be
rushing out to go kayaking. So, we had eggs and sausage with coffee while we waited for the sun to warm things up a bit.
By 1:30pm when we hit the beach at the Piscassic Street boat launch in Newmarket NH the temp was up to a nice 55 plus degrees. We hadn't been to the left of the launch, so we first paddled over to and then under the old railroad bridge before reversing and heading up river.
Though it was really windy, the wind was up in the trees so paddling was fairly easy going both out and then back. We only stopped briefly at the active railroad bridge about half way along. We were surprised that none of the leaves had changed along that branch at all! Last year when we paddled up there at this time, they were spectacular!
Somewhere around 2:30pm we just coasted along and enjoyed a small sandwich, fresh grapes, and some water that Sue had packed for lunch. Again, just surprising how few leaves had changed. More surprising was that some of those had almost even browned out. Very strange. But a great day on the river on a spectacular Fall day; just perfect!
We got home around 4:00pm, changed up, and then sipped a little wine and played backgammon, watching another fire that I had lit in the fireplace. The temps were dropping, and by evening were probably in the mid 40s. A nice relaxing evening!
10/14/16: Out To See Play
After swining out to Newmarket, NH to look at a cute (but in need of major renovations) farm house, Sue and I drove over to Rollinsford, NH to the Garrison Players Playhouse to see their marvelous production of Little Old Ladies In Tennis Shoes. I just love community theater, and this was a wonderful play.
10/15/16: Hunter's Moon Photography Adventure!
Sue came flying home from her trip up to Ossipee, NH, threw her camera gear into the car, and announced a great new full Hunter's Moon Photography Adventure!
Off we went, down to almost the end of Back River Road at Route 4. She had me pull over, almost opening the door before the car had stopped.
And off into the weeds she went, camera and tripod slung over her shoulder, flapping obligingly behind her.
After about 10 minutes, just as the sun was setting and the moon was fully crested over the tree line, she came running back to the car. "Wagon Hill!" she chirped. "Quick!"
We skidded into the parking area, Sue jumped out immediately, and we were off! After taking quite a few shots, she wandered back to join me on the path. "Okay, that's it," she sighed. It's always fun to go on a photography adventure with Sue because you just never know what you're going to get into or see!
We came back to the condo, had some wine, and played backgammon until we grabbed some dinner.
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