2008 Rose Family Events Archives...
For current events, go to the Rose family website page.
01/01/08: Happy New Year and The Great 2008 New Years Eve And All Day Open House Backgammon Tournament and Ham Feed
Well, this open house backgammon party was the first of its kind as it was held over two days.
It started Monday December 31 at 6:00pm and went until the ball droped at midnight, and then continued on from 11:00am Tuesday New Years Day until 11pm!
This was my 35th backgammon event since moving into the Garrison and was a great success - well, I thought it was! We had pizza New Year's Eve, and watched the ball drop in Times Square. The picture is of me popping the cork out of the Champaign bottle earlier that evening.
Then, I had an all day backgammon and movie marathon New Year's Day ending up with my cooking a dinner of baked ham with Asiago and Sage Scalloped Potatoes.
01/19/08: The Great 2008 Ununemployed Backgammon Tournament And Poor Mans Pizza Party
The only thing to do when you come off the unemployed roles is to have a party! To celebrate my new job which I start on the 28th, I thought I’d throw a little backgammon party get together.
It was a little short notice because I'm heading out next week to visit my brother Alan for a few days, and then Super Bowl is coming. So if I'm going to have a party, now's the time to do it!
01/23/08: Working Trip To My Brother Alan's
I flew down to see my brother Alan in Towson, MD Wednesday through Saturday. It was not only to visit to see both he and Abbie, but also so that we could work together on the third major edit to my novel.
He had already done many minor edits, and had just done two major ones. But this one was a big one.
Both of these major edits have resulted in weeding out over sixty pages of text from an original three-hundred-ninety pages - for which I have formally named him Chainsaw. He is wicked with the pen.
But then having spent over 40 years teaching English literature at both the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD and as head of the English department at Frotsberg State College in Frostberg, MD, he has no sympathy for poor writing or structure or, as it turns out, for even his poor younger brother.
02/03/08: The Great 2008 Super Bowl Backgammon Tournament And Ranch Hand Chili Explosion
Well, as I've mentioned before, I only do football Thanksgiving, New Years, and Super Bowl. And here came Super Bowl.
So, I decided that rather than watching the game by myself, or having a party some other weekend, I'd have a combined Backgammon Tournament and Super Bowl Sunday party all rolled into one!
I told everyone that if they wanted to come, they had to wear Super Bowl gear. The picture shows my gear. Though the Patriot's sweatshirt is Marissa's, I did buy a new cap for myself! It was the least I could do, because, after all, the Patriot's were 18 - 0 going for the second team in history to make it a sweep of 19 - 0 against the New York Giants and would have been their fourth Super Bowl win.
Unfortunately, the Pat's couldn't pull it off, and Super Bowl 42 went to the Giants. Regardless, we had a good time. I opened the doors at 2:00pm as I wanted to get my dinner done early so it could simmer and steep. I fixed a multi bean, multi meat, medium hot ranch hand chili with trail biscuits. It was a great hit, but as usual I made too much. I'll have chile for weeks...
02/09/08: Movie Marathon
Thursday after karate class, I asked if anyone wanted to come over Saturday and do a movie night. It was supposed to snow and that's a great excuse for sitting in and watching a good action movie.
Saturday morning I was up early to get the library ready for Matt the Comcast technician who was converting me from dsl to cable modem as well as switching to VOIP digital phone and upgrading my cable so that includes the On Demand stuff. Anyway, got all that taken care of and then did some editing on my book.
Marissa came by around 3:00 and wanted me to go to WalMart with her and then some food shopping for school, so off we went. I did my shopping as well; wrapped the whole process up and back to the house by about 5:00. Marissa headed off to run some other errands she had to do and to meet up with Gary. By this time it was snowing pretty steady; not heavy, but just consistent. It did that all night, but temps were warm so nothing piled up.
So, around 6:00 Steve and Rick came over followed shortly by Marissa and Gary. Steve brought over Running Red and since it was early, we decided to watch that. It was awful; one review said of it: "You can find something better to do with this part of your life." Yeah, that about sums it up.
Just as that was winding down, the subs and pizza arrived so we took a brief break and then watched the terrific Bourne Ultimatum. Now, that's a movie. We were all cranked up after that and it was early so we did one of the movies on my new free cable On Demand - Stealth, which was ok with not bad special effects of the planes flying. But it was after 1:00am before I got to bed so long day.
Up around 9:00 Sunday morning to about two new inches of snow. Marissa got up at 10:00 and headed off to the boat show in Worcester, MA with Gary and his folks as they had to bring back some of their boats. At least the weather had cleared as it was really messy last night.
After writing for most of the morning, I propped myself up on the sofa and started reading a book my brother Alan had suggested for its economy of writing style, Colm Toibin's The Blackwater Lightship, which, unfortunately, holds little story interest for me though the writing is exquisite. Around noon, it started snowing quite heavily so I was quite content to stay parked on the sofa for the duration. Yet another picture out my back door of snow that you can tell is comming down pretty heavy if you look in the distance.
02/16/08: Fun Night Out Saturday And Other Stuff For The Week
There had been so much hype about the new movie Jumper that some of us decided we just had to get together and have a night out. A bunch of us met at Castaways restaurant in Dover Saturday night for backgammon and dinner and then headed off to the 8:30 show in Newington. It was worth seeing on the big screen; I don't think it would be much to "jump" up and down about on a DVD. But it was fun, and that's what it's all about.
Sunday was a study day for me. There was a beautiful snowstorm that I watched from the living room sofa as I read one of my crative writing texts. I had spent all day Saturday running the edit chainsaw through my novel so Sunday was a nice complement to that.
Some kind of evil bug overcame me Tuesday night and I was walkin' death at work all day Wednesday. Went home and did eleven hours in bed, eleven Thursday, Friday, and Saturday as well, though I did a full work week. It just sort of hangs on. Was pretty evil the first couple of days, but though I was weak and not full of energy much from then on, I was at least able to move around and do some writing and study the weekend of the 23rd.
Finished off Sunday evening with a home brew garlic and thyme pork stir fry with snow peas and mung bean sprouts while listening to the Opere Per Chitarra guitar works by Mauro Giuliani. And then: the Oscars, what else!
03/07/08: Coming Off Injured Reserve
Well, I've been laying low for the last couple of weeks. Caught a bug and was down for just a couple of days because I hit it hard with a lot of rest, water, and meditation. But it wouldn't totally let go as I've been exhausted, but enough is enough!
Friday it was out to dinner at the Oar House in Portsmouth, "...located in the historic Merchant's Row building at the edge of Portsmouth's old harbor." Stopped in at the Dolphin Striker's Spring Hill Tavern for a a pre show glass of wine, and then off to the Seacoast Repertory Theater to see the play Wait Until Dark. It's great to finally be able to go to a "real" play; who goes to all these silly musicals and crappy comedy plays? Man...
Saturday morning I was up early and doing some editing work on my novel until Marissa showed up and chased me out of the library so that she could finish the painting there as well as complete the bathroom she had started last weekend. I ended up parked on the living room sofa studying some writing theory books by Bickham that I had ordered online and had arrived earlier in the week. Good stuff.
Then some of us got together Saturday night for some backgammon, order out subs, and the movie Invasion, which wasn't too bad, actually. I had some hot dice, too; enjoy it while I can and talk trash all the way...
Wind blew hard all night from the storm that had hit Ohio, and continued through midday. I was up at 7:45 Sunday morning - the correct time change time even - and got busy in the library straightening wires for all the computer gear and organizing "stuff". There is a lot more "stuff" to organize and/or toss out, but that will have to wait for another day as I got organized out.
Spent most of the day crawling around under the desk organizing computer, external hard drive, phone, and printer wires and ethernet connections. Marissa had it all set up, but needed to move some things around.
And then BOOM! One of the wires arched and a huge spark blasted at me. Great... Damn wire on the top of the male plug for the speakers had been bent over so long that the coating had broken and the wires touched. Nice... I'm impressed.
Did some editing on my novel. Actually finished this round of edits and started over on the next. One thing at a time... But the day wore on and I had to go figure out a shopping list. I had to call Comcast for technical help a few weeks ago when I was having trouble with my new internet account. Interestingly, the guy I got was in the Philippians. We got to chatting and though young, he seemed to be tuned in pretty good so I asked him for a reference to some native type dish that he liked. He mentioned menudo, so I thought, well, why not? So that's what I had for tonight’s Peter’s Sunday Party For One.
For a wine, I was going to do a Merlot, but an interesting bottle of Chillian red wine called out to me at the store: "Peter... Peter... Buy me... Buy me..."
So, what was I supposed to do? I had to pick her up. She was smooth and just a little sassy; the perfect complement to my Filipino meal! And how much better can that get?
So, as the cooking proceeded, I listened to Philip Glass's score for The Hours. Captivating and haunting. I'll have to get that movie again; so complex, but then I suspect many wouldn't like it. I was taken by how well the score tied the movie together. With dinner, it was some Mauro Giuliani guitar compilations; great stuff. Marissa came in just as I was finishing up to get some stuff and just rolled her eyes.
03/11/08: Midweek Dinner Out
Marissa didn't bother to tell anyone that this was her school's week off. I was a little unprepard to do anything so I suggested a dinner out for just the two of us. Burgers at Uno's was the request, and so that's just what we did!
03/15/08: The Great 2008 St. Patricks Day Backgammon Tournament And Irish Feast
What better way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day than to have a backgammon tournament - actually, just a slug fest - cook up corned beef and cabbage,
and have a few hearty souls over to party.
It was a great time and I was able to redeem myself after going down against both Rick and Steve in a pre game warm up series after karate class on Thursday night.
Actually, Rick and I played late Friday night as well after getting back from seeing the infantile movie Doomsday.
I had fixed up some spaghetti and then we met Marissa and Gary in Portsmouth for the 7:30 show. Lots of action, but all the gratuitous violence was really unnecessary. But if you could put that aside, it was a pretty good action movie. The movie of the night after the backgammon party was Braveheart. I hadn't seen that for years. Great movie.
Sunday was a lazy day. Got up late and finished cleaning up after the party, did laundry, unscrambled a huge tangle of computer wires - again. I never got it right last time and just couldn't take it anymore. So, I spent about an hour crawling around under the desk.
There was a gentle snow falling by the time I settled into some editing on my novel. It was really nice to work in my newly painted library. Thanks to Marissa's efforts, I have a nice cozy environment now to work in. Finished off the night with the movie Into The Wild directed by Sean Penn. I was going to run that last night, but Marissa said it was really slow moving, which it was. Steve had brought Braveheart with him, and so everyone voted for that.
But I really wanted to see it, so that was Sunday night's movie. Since I had started it right after dinner, I also watched another movie I had picked up that looked interesting, Adrift In Manhatten. Hummmm... yeah, that was a little drifty though mildly interesting intertwining story lines.
03/23/08: Easter With The Kids
Well, at the last minute the kids decided they were coming to come to my place for Easter Sunday dinner.
Someone had brought the newest Harry Potter dvd, so they popped that in and that was great background for the chef as he/I toiled away in the kitchen.
I told everyone that we'd eat at 6:00pm so everybody could get on with things, so I started the process with a glass of cabernet a little after 4:00pm as I chopped shallots.
Everyone showed up about 4:30pm or so, and hung around watching the chef for about as long as they could bear. Then, off to watch the movie - which I think is difficult to follow. But then... F.O.P. - what do they know... It was great to be together and share the day.
04/06/08: Winding Down From The Last Week
Busy at work last week, so it was good when Friday hit. But I had got primed up for it Thursday night at Applebee's after karate class with some rowdy backgammon, nachos, and a beer. Bring it on...
Friday, went to a small wine tasting after work at the Hannaford market down the road from me. We weren't really keen on the selections, a really thin and sharp tasting Chardonnay and a Pinot Noir that was okay. I'm not a real Pinot fan as they tend to be a little fruity for me, and the Chardonnay was, quite frankly, horrible. A MacMillian, I think it was... Nope. Next.
But, I was in a wine buying mood so wandered the aisle in search of "the deal". Found a great price on a Bare Foot Chardonnay and companion Cabernet. In fact, as I sit here Sunday late afternoon, I'm sipping that Bare Foot Chardonnay and listening to a little Tony Bennett in the background. Now, that's a pretty decent bottle of wine for the price - $10. Yeah, I'll enjoy that tonight.
Anyway, Friday back to the house and watched the terrific movie El Cantante. It stars Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, who plays the role of Hector Lavoe, the guy who fused horns and Latin music to create Salsa. Man! What great music that is! I don't dance - er, won't dance - but that stuff had me bobbing up and down. I enjoyed it so much, I ordered the CD online. Got some karate books on breathing and pressure point theory that I've had my eye on as well.
Then Saturday during the day, I worked through what I think will be the second to last structural editing on my book. Making plans now to head back down to my brother Alan's in Towson, MD for his chainsaw editing work, drink some wine, and cook up more Portuguese food.
I worked right up until a couple of my karate students joined me for gross amounts of pizza, some beer, and backgammon. We watched some silly Waiting movie - too childish even for me as a pre-movie of the night warm up. Hummmm... that was a real steamer for sure. But The History of Violence was more than a makeup for that. What a powerful drama, and some fine actors delivering just great work.
For Peter's Sunday Dinner Party For One, I really winged it this time.
It was a totally on the fly creation that I'll just call Italian Chicken and Vegetable Medley Saute.
I really outdid myself. It had capers, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, shallots, peas, spinach, and green beans in a white wine (er, that would be a little Bare Foot Chardonnay) and light cream reduction sauce with rosemary, and thyme seasoned with garlic and ground black peppercorns. Yeah, baby!
Did the laundry, my movie of the night, and that was it. Ready to hit it next week for another busy week and next weekend is Colin's 21st birthday! Yikes! We're working out the details of that party now. Stay tuned...
04/10/08: New Chandelier Hanging Event
Last Sunday afternoon, after finishing off some final changes to my novel that I was working on, I headed out to Home Depot with Marissa and Gary.
Don't ask me about stuff like this, but the other day I just got this compelling urge - a need even - to go to Home Depot.
Well, I needed some can up lights and dimmers for the work in the library, but that's not a compelling reason to trek up to Home Depot. No. This was something more.
And it turned out that it was; this stuff happens to me all the time. I was wandering through the lighting aisles and happened to glance up. A beautiful old world chandelier caught my eye. And it was on sale, marked down from $168 to $95 and was exactly what I had been searching for to put in the dining room now for almost four years.
And there it was, hanging from the ceiling. I looked all over the place for one of them and couldn't find it; and neither could the clerk. So, I said to the clerk, "Look, I'll buy the demo one hanging there if you'll sell it to me." Done.
I amaze even myself - I almost ordered one online from Ballard Designs a couple of weeks ago. It was just what I was looking for but I had some questions that I emailed them about.
But I never heard back and so just put that one out of my mind. But that was the price range I had seen this particular style running in: $250 - $450. That's a lot of wine... so I never bit.
So, Thursday after karate class, with a bribe of beer and pizza, a few of us got the chandelier hung.
Of course, we had our problems, the biggest of which was the sympathy run at 9:00pm to Home Depot that Rick and Scott made to get a larger base mounting plate. But in the end, it turned out really well.
I feel a little foolish that it took so long to find this important piece to complete the old world style that I had created for my home, but nothing reasonably priced had really presented itself before. Sometimes, I guess, you just have to wait it out...
04/12/08: Colin's 21st Birthday Dinner
I asked Colin what he wanted to do for his 21st birthday dinner, and he requested dinner at The Texas Roadhouse in Newington. So after he got out of work,
Adrianne picked me up at my place, we drove down to pick him, Marissa, and Gary up and we were off!
Well, Saturday night at The Roadhouse is a zoo - there were people everywhere. We had called in early to get a waiting spot, but it was still well over an hour from the time the call ahead went in until we were seated.
And of course I had to embarass Colin to death by telling our waitress that it was his birthday. Later in the evening they brought the saddle around and we made him sit in it. Great fun!
04/19/08: The Great 2008 April Showers Backgammon Tournament And Celestial Spring Vegetable Stir Fry
April showers may bring May flowers but this backgammon tournament and dinner feed brought smiles to all who came. It was a great time. Just a few of us, but fun.
I only got to play a couple of games because I was busy cooking. But that's okay.
However, it would make things much easier if I'd just stay with the recipe - I could probably finish sooner and get on the boards!
Since it was an 'April Showers' event, I mandated that anyone who came had to wear rain gear to this thing, threatening make anyone who didn't do something stupid and embarrassing. Everyone at least walked in the door dressed appropriately.
05/03/08: The Great 2008 Cinco de Mayo Backgammon Tournament And Arroz Con Pollo Mexican Fiesta
Notice was short, but my Cinco de Mayo backgammon dinner party wasn't!
I missed last year for some reason and when someone asked me what I was doing for Cinco de Mayo, I about had a fit because I totally spaced out about it!
I fixed Arroz Con Pollo, a Mexican chicken casserole dish, in celebration. I had fixed that two years ago and it was a great success. It was even better this year! I amaze myself sometimes - not bad for a city boy... I may make that a regular dish.
Steve brought vast quantities of Mexican Beer and I rented the 4th in the Die Hard series with Bruce Willis. Of course I got it in Blu-ray, we cranked up the surround, and had a hell of a time.
05/10/08: Iron Man Movie Road Trip
After karate class last week, Steve had mentioned that we should all get together and see Iron Man on the big screen. So, I sent a note around during the week to see if anyone else thought if this was an infantile enough movie for us to have a road trip.
The consensus was that, in fact, it was more than reason to go. So, five of us met up at Applebee's in Newington, NH at 5:15, played some premovie backgammon, and had a marvelous meal. And the movie was terrific; just our speed. Everyone really enjoyed it and thought it was well done; not corny at all.
But, the night was still young, and so were the players! And so we came back to my place in Dover, listened to some CDs, and played some really combat backgammon - lots of yelling and trash talk until it got so late, Rick had to leave because he had an early call as head of our karate club's Early Bird Sunday morning workout on Four Tree Island in Portsmouth. I didn't get to bed until after 1:00am as after everyone had left, I turned all the lights off except two of the can up lights, and re-listened to the Abba greatest hits CD. Nice night.
It had been a long day as I had gotten up around 8:30 and worked on my writing until 5:00pm almost without break. And then Sunday, I was up at 9:15am for another ten hours writing. Gad, my day job just gets in the way of all this fun stuff... What's up for next weekend? I'm in!
05/17/08: A Writing Kind of Weekend
Thursday after karate class, I got all primed with backgammon for the upcoming weekend, but that didn't pan out there was so much stuff going on. Out to dinner both Friday night and Saturday, and Friday night over to The Garrison Players, a small community theater just outside of Dover in Rollinsford, to see one of my favorite plays, Thornton Wilder's Our Town. They did such a terrific job of that, that I was all fired up and stayed up too late listening to a bunch of CDs.
But I was beat and didn't roll out of the rack until - ready for this - 10:30 Saturday morning! Man was I scrambling as I had all the best intentions of starting my writing at 8:00... Nope. Didn't happen. But by the time I headed out to dinner Saturday night, I had buckled down and did eight hours so I felt pretty good about that. After dinner, the feature movie was Michael Clayton and George Clooney was amazing, just amazing.
Sunday, up at 9:00am and on the boards writing by 9:30. I didn't stop even for dinner other than to heat up a mini pizza in the toaster oven - ten hours straight. Yeah, I'm at 105 pages and in the grove of the story; the bones are all laid out and it's a good one and moves right along. And life is good!
Well, next weekend is the long Memorial Day weekend, and I'm hoping to get 30 or 40 hours on this. We'll see. I'm thinking of having a backgammon party, but I've already had one this month and next month is my annual celebration for being here at The Garrison, so I dunno... We'll have to see how the week goes and how the spirit moves me. And, if anyone calls and wonders why the hell I'm not having one!
05/23/08: Memorial Day Weekend
Friday watched Charlie Wilson's War and really enjoyed that. Not any high action, but very dramatic. And based on a true story, so interesting if only that. But Tom Hanks, Philip Seymore Hoffman, and Julia Roberts all together? Gad, what a cast!
I spent all Saturday morning and afternoon sipping coffee and writing. Rick came over about 6:00 for The Great 2008 Memorial Day and Short Notice Unemployed Backgammon Tournament And Other Foolishness Party. Steve was going to come, but got tied up at another party, and Marissa dropped in for a few minutes, but other than that it was just Rick and me to have all the fun.
But then, I didn't decide to even have a party until after karate class on Thursday night because I had already had one party for the month. Well, there's always time for a backgammon party, even if only a couple of us are there!
So, it was just the two of us banging away at the board. We stopped and had some spaghetti, finished off the final game, and then watched No Country For Old Men, which was more than disappointing as far as the reasonableness of the plot. Acting was outstanding, and overall it was just okay - or so we thought.
I was up fairly early Sunday morning and on the boards writing. By the end of the afternoon after almost eight hours straight I am at page 138. Now that constitutes a pretty good start to a real novel.
Who writes 138 pages? No-bod-y. Nobody. Period. I do, and someday I can come back here and say, you know, this is how you do it. You put your head down and you work your ass off until it gets done and done right and you keep writing and sending it out until they can't take it anymore and publish you. And then everyone wonders how you made it happen and they didn't. This is how you do it. Not thinking about it, or wishing for it, or wondering where you'll find the time for it. You ust do it.
And... you do it for the love of it and not to get published. Who cares about getting published? You write because you have to; because it's in your blood and you can't get away from it and it fulfills you. You write for you. And if you find that special voice inside of you, then others will enjoy what you write. So, we'll see won't we?
Now, Peter's Sunday Dinner Party For One was a spectacular success particularly after all the hand wringing during the late afternoon as to what would be on the menue other than a bottle of Chardoanny that I had bought a few weeks ago and wanted to try.
The picture shows the preparty kitchen counter with all the stuff that I wandered through the store choosing by the secret mystic and formidable power of right touch and smell; right selection - or something like that - process of choosing a meal's ingredients that James Haller from the Blue Strawberry taught me... ah, let's see now... that would be going on thirty five years ago now! Note the positioning of the aforesaid mentioned bottle and glass of wine. This guy doesn't miss a step, folks! Stay tuned for the press releases! I'm havin' way too much fun for my height!
And Monday, Memorial Day, was really just a kick back day for me. I wrote for most of the day, but broke that up mid day for a couple hours sitting out on the deck and reading Dan Brown's Angels and Demons which I have found to be very entertaining and fast moving. For dinner I just did some leftovers out of stock and then settled into the first of two parts of the A&E presentation of Michael Crichton's Andromeda Strain that was pretty entertaining.
05/30/08: North Conway Trip
Despite the prospect of a rainy weekend, Colin and I decided to take a short overnight trip to North Conway. Who cares about the weather? We left early and just figured if it was really bad Saturday morning, we'd come home. But we were going up regardless!
There was hardly any traffic and we made it up in plenty of time to hike around a couple of the area's more popular attractions, Cathedral Ledge and Diana's Baths. I wanted Colin to see The Eagle Mountain House in Jackson, so we drove over there and I had a beer in the bar where I've brought many a karate disciple retreat group in the past.
We had dinner at the 1785 Inn, back to the Grand Hotel for a swim and relaxing half hour or so in the hot tub, and finished off the night with the movie Hunt For Red October.
Didn't get to bed until after 1:00am so just snoozed in until a little after 9:00. As predicted, it was pouring heavily, so we packed up and headed back. But it was a really fun time.
06/08/08: Hot But Relaxing Sunday
Well, despite the threat of rain today, it remained bright, sunny, and very hot. Must have hit ninety for one of the first times of the year.
Thursday after karate class, a couple of my students lugged my air conditioner upstairs and so when I had some friends over Saturday night for pizza, some backgammon and a movie, it was nice to have on even though it wasn't too bad out.
We had a great time Saturday. Started out listening to the new CD Once from the movie - won an Oscar, and then watched the Blu-ray version of Twister. Even from 1997, I think this is one of the most engaging movies ever made. And in Blu-ray on a 46", 1080p, 120mhz scan flat screen the special effects were spectacular.
Well, we got done with that kind of early and so another backgammon series got started. I threw in the movie Coyote Ugly on just as background, but, man, even regular DVDs in hi-def are so much better, and the music in surround sound was too much to bear. So... when the backgammon was done, we ran through Coyote Ugly again! Yeah, the demon beer, I'm sure, had something to do with this. But, it's a fun movie and this was another great night.
When I got up Sunday morning, it was already showing signs of being a scorcher, so on went the air conditioner. Good thing, too, because even as insulated as my unit is, it would have been pretty miserable.
I had a lot of writing to do, and it would have been pretty uncomfortable without the air. Up to page 197, so rapidly approaching that magic 200 page mark where I can then say, "Hey, I've got a book!" That's a very satisfying point to get to for a writer. I'm savoring it...
As I was at a pretty good holding point on the writing, I decided to head out onto the deck with my new book on creative writing theory. I parked it in the shade and just sat and sipped my coffee, read, and smelled all the great flowers springing up all around.
Not a very interesting picture of me trying to beat the automatic shutter to the chair; never did make it, so this is the best you're gonna see of how nice it was out there.
But there was a little breeze blowing junk off the trees all over me and landing in my coffee, so after about an hour or so I headed in and finished up my reading for the day on the sofa looking out through my windows. That was just fine.
I usually fix up a dinner Sunday and do the movie of the night, but didn't get to anything until late. Fixed up a chicken with garlic, capers, mushrooms, tomatoes, and other stuff as had garlic cloves and capers left over from last week. Also steamed up some Brussels sprouts in a great Worcestershire sauce and herb broth all washed down with a nice White Bordeaux. Another success!
And the movie of the night was The Jane Austen Book Club. Now, as ponderous as you might expect such a thing to be, it was surprisingly captivating. I even watched almost the full director's commentary cut.
06/10/08: Out With Marissa
Tonight, Marissa and I planned a night out to celebrate her birthday. We were originally going to start at 4:00pm, but she was painting a boat at work and didn't get out until almost 5:00pm. Of course, the shower and all, so we weren't able to get on with things until just after 6:00pm.
We went to Target up in Somersworth first, and I got her a swimming suit she liked as well as one of the DVDs that she had wanted, Hitman.
From there, we drove down to Newington and had dinner at Newicks. That was great because we got a table overlooking the water. Nice to just sit and chat and enjoy being together.
Off to Olympia Sports in the mall to find a pair of gym shorts, but nothing there. Then to the DVD place there in the mall where I got her another one of the DVDs she wanted, Jumper.
And then for the big one, with her money this time, Best Buy to get her Garmond GPS system. They tried to sell her a Geek Squad installation service for $14.95 or something. Yeah, right. By the time I had got into the car and slammed the door, she had the thing about all hooked up and it was talking us out of the parking lot two minutes later.
We let the GPS guide us back to my place, and sat in the living room and wathced Hitman. Now, how much better could it get? Can't...
06/14/08: The Great 2008 Four Years At The Garrison Backgammon Tournament And Spaghetti Bolognese Celebration
Well, it's tradition at this point: each year I celebrate being here at The Garrison with a backgammon party get together.
This is my fourth year, and I just had to have the same thing, Spaghetti Bolognese, and have the same movie, Top Gun.
I started sipping wine and chopping around 4:30 Saturday afternoon. It seems no matter how little or how much chopping that I have to do, by the time I start and the meal is ready - barring longer cooking times like this sauce had - it's two and a half hours!
Tim House had brought an amazing Cabernet by Charles Shaw, and the two of us - with a little help from Steve - did that, no problem. We also had some generic Carlo Rossi Piasiano that was pretty good as well.
The weather was perfect and the rain held off until just as the last were leaving around 11:00pm. And then it poured. In fact, it poured all night. But worse, after everyone left, I just couldn't go to bed. I went back in and put the Blu-ray movie Invincible on and watched that, but had to have the sound way up in parts because the rain was pounding down so hard I couldn't hear it! It's a tough life...
06/15/08: Father's Day
Father's Day is the most important day of the year for me. I am so proud of both Colin and Marissa that it is a joy for me to have this day for them.
Colin and Marissa swung by around noon, and took me to BGs Boathouse in Portsmouth on the river for lunch. I had my first Pina Colada to kick off the summer. I know, I know - a little late getting going here, but it's a start.
After luch, drove through Newcastle to the Coast Guard station, and then a casual drive through Strawberry Banke in Portsmouth.
Ended off the afternoon with a short ride in Colin's boat. Home for some writing, can of soup, and a movie. Couldn't have been better.
06/16/08: Birthday Dinner Out
Colin and Marissa insisted on taking me out to dinner for my birthday. They swung by after Marissa got home from work, and we went up to Castaways on the river here in Dover.
We had a great dinner and a great time just talking and getting caught up on what's going on in everyone's lives.
Then I had promised them I'd get Spiderman 3 in Blu-ray, so we charged back here to watch that. Unbelievable is all I can say about that in hi-def...
Of course, I had to have a small shot of Jack Daniels, and thought I'd introduce Colin to "Dr. Jack". He gagged and vowed "never again", but you never know about that. Particularly with the best Tennessee Sour Mash Bourbon Whiskey in the world. Bar none.
06/27/08: Working Trip To Alan's in Towson, MD
Having completed 270 pages of my new novel Too Late For Later, I thought I'd better go down to my brother Alan's in Towson, MD and have him give it a structural overview, as well as doing a reanalysis of Currency of Money.
It also gave me an opportunity to cook meals from three different Italian regions from a couple of the books that he had. We decided this time not to do Portugese; just a taste for some Italian.
I flew Southwest out of Manchester into BWI, down on Friday and back the following Monday. Though not as hot as it was the last time I was down in the summer, it was in 90s.
The last time I got off the plane there in the summer it was 101 and went up from there! This time, it was hot but it was not overpowering. Trips to the store for food were thus much more enjoyable.
We had some terrific thunder boomers each afternoon, though they didn't really cool things off much. The first two storms were so strong that it chased us off off the porch - just when Alan was getting into the finer review points of the fine art of Southern Porch Sitting that he has been instructing me on over the last many years.
Unfortunately, we were again so busy with work that we didn't get down to Baltimore's Inner Harbor area that I love so much. Next time for sure, as that is really such a fun place to visit. Too much work and no play... that drill.
07/05/08: The Great 2008 4th of July Backgammon Tournament And Chinese Schezuan Stir Fry Light em Up
As usual, these parties many times have their origin after karate class on Thursday night,and tis one was no exception. After playing a set, I was only up on Rick by 1 point, I think.
Friday afternoon, 4th of July, we went to the early movie to see WALL-E and then up to Castaways on the river in Dover for dinner. We played three full sets (nine games) of real back and forth action. By the end of all that, I was only up on Rick by 3 points. We had some brutal games.
Colin, Marissa, and Gary joined us for some games and had dinner with us. It was a really festive time and the restaurant deck was packed with people waiting for the fireworks to start at 9:15 just across the river.
The kids had other things to do and headed out around 7:45. Rick and I played a couple more games to finish out the thrid set and then went back to the house to play more backgammon. I finished up only a couple of points ahead. At some point even we get backgammoned-out, and so we closed out the night by watching the movie As Good As It Gets.
And Saturday, I had The Great 2008 4th of July Backgammon Tournament And Chinese Schezuan Stir Fry Light em Up dinner party for a few friends who were free. We had some really intense games, and finished out the night with the movie Crimson Tide.
07/11/08: New Job Celebration Weekend
I started my new job Monday the 7th with Perot Systems on a contract at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard with the Naval Sea Logistics Center - NAVSEALOGCENDET Portsmouth working on some really interesting web based business applications development. After a busy week getting acclimated, I was ready on Friday for some relaxing.
Friday evening, Marissa and Gary joined several of us for dinner at Applebee's in Newington, but declined to go with us to see the new movie Wanted; they said they were holding off going until the following weekend with friends. Kids... But we had a great time at dinner, even getting in many spirited rounds of backgammon. After the movie, we came back to my place. I put the movie Hunt For Red October in as background for more backgammon.
I slept in Saturday and then spent an enjoyable morning out on the deck finishing up Stuart Woods' book, Shoot Him If He Runs, which has been a great read; my first of Stuart's works.
Then, late Saturday afternoon I went down to Portsmouth for a cookout at my disciple 3rd Degree Black Belt Sandan Tim House and his wife Cindy's, who is a 1st Degree Black Belt Shodan student of mine.
The weather was just great; most of the heat from earlier in the week had been pushed out by a really nice onshore breeze that had cooled things off just great for an outside party. I snapped the photo on my way out; isn't that just the picture of a guy all set for a summer's party! Oh yeah...
Sunday was equally beautiful. I parked it out on the deck again and started a James Patterson novel, You've Been Warned. This was my first read of his work, but it just didn't grab me. Primarily, I don't like fist person point of view writing; just my thing. And I found the style much different than what I like. Granted, he writes detective/murder genera which is different than the suspense/thriller and literary fiction that I enjoy. My friend Linda, who loves Patterson, says I should give him another try; maybe one of his Alex Cross series books. We'll see - as long as they aren't first person...
The picture of Marissa and Gary was taken by my friend, Neal Whicher. Neal owns a 32' catamaran, Ming, which he moors summers up here, and then sails south for the winter. The shot is looking from Ming's stern across the river to Eliot, Maine.
Anyway, tossing the Patterson aside, I picked up my manuscript for Too Late For Later and began some phrase editing to smooth things out. Nothing major as I need several days in a row to work on the finer points, and the upcoming week at work will simply not provide me with that time. I got about a third of the way through, so that's a good start.
Now, for Peter's Sunday Dinner Party For One I really, really did intend to follow the recipe. Really... But I was having such a good time today that I wasn't paying too close attention to the shopping list and got more of one thing and less of another and it just wasn't going to work out "by the book". So... come on now... I had to improvise. A magnificent job of thick thyme sprinkled pork chops cooked separately and then blended in with a mix of onion slices, carrots, tomato paste, and a heap of herb and wine seasoned mushrooms which I then added parsley seasoned long grain brown rice to. Yikes! Very good, thank you. Very good...
07/25/08: Great Non-stop Weekend
As is about our speed, we didn't decide about going out to see the new movie Hell Boy 2 until after karate class Thursday night. As a result, only Steve and I were free to go. And, to compensate for those who might want to have accompanied us, we had to drink more beer and play more backgammon to make up for that.
To me, the movie was weak and needed all of the beer that I had at Castaways, where we had met for dinner and backgammon. The only saving grace was that I was 1 point down going into the third game of the third set that we played at Castaways. So, after the 9:15pm show let out, Steve came back to my place for another beer to finish the set. And, we just had to split a small pizza; there was no way around it. Oh, and did I mention that I ended the week on Steve 4 points up? It was also a very late night, and it took a lot to claw my way out of bed Saturday morning even at 9:30am.
Saturday, the weather was just great. So I headed out onto the deck with a cup of coffee around 10:30am and started to study one of Jackie Collins' books, Hollywood Wives. I got about 20 pages into it and not only realized that I had already read it about fifteen years before, but that I didn't like it then. I looked at it stylistically, but she is/was so far off from how I craft my work that there was no need to continue.
So, I picked up and finished by the end of the afternoon Stuart Woods' Dark Harbor. Now, that was an enjoyable read; my second of Woods' novels. I have a list of others of his that I'd like to read. But I was running late, so hopped into the shower and flew out the door for a great dressed up dinner night out at Acorns at the University of New Hampshire's New England Center.
Sunday, up at 8:30am and on the deck shortly after that with my coffee. I spent almost the entire day out there doing a phrasing structural edit to about 70 pages of my novel, Too Late For Later. The coffee was great, but the racket from a couple of feuding squirrels was distracting. Fortunately, the rain held off until just as I was ducking back in the door with the groceries for the week. And what a storm - knocked out the CD of Steve Tyrell I had on while I was cooking, which irritated the crap out of me.
Speaking of cooking: I followed all of the steps of the recipe for tonight's Peter's Sunday Party For One. Yes, folks it's true! Marvelous Moroccan Chicken with Apricot and ginger relish over a bed of couscous. How great was that? And the diversity of spices in the marinade was all new to me: ginger, garlic, cumin, lemon juice, coriander, cinnamon, paprika, ground pepper, and cilantro all washed down with a great Washington State Shiraz. Oh, yeah, baby... And that's what I'm talkin' about.
08/09/08: Movie Road Trip
The new Batman movie, The Dark Knight has been out now for several weeks. So far, it's been a monster hit, grossing over $400 million. I knew when it came out that I had no ambition for standing in the lines. Heck, I tried to get in to see another movie a few weeks ago and it, and all other movies at the complex, were sold out because of the overflow from those not able to get into The Dark Knight.
So, I waited until this Saturday to go. But, Steve had mentioned an IMAX theater over in Hooksett, NH so several of us planned to go. Three of us met up at Chantilly's Restaurant & Pub just down from the theater complex. We figured it would be too late to eat after the 6:30pm show (2.5 hours), so we got there at 3:45. Not a bad little spot. We sat in the bar so we could play backgammon and have a couple of beers. The food was amazing - well worth the visit to try if you're in the area; I'd go back anytime.
Rick and I had some wicked backgammon games - up and down all the time. I was 1 point down from Thursday's play coming into this. But I took an early lead and then I had a brain fart or something because I not only did the riskiest plays, but I threw the cube too early. Rick could have been asleep and played and still won with all the doubles he was throwing and I got stuffed 7 down for the week. I was thinking of having Janis take him out and then I could toss him into the dumpster behind the restaurant, but he was driving... Next week, then Rick. Next week... I'll get you and your little dog, Toto, too...
And as far as The Dark Knight goes - it's clear why it's made $400 million. It's got to be one of the better movies ever made. And Heath Ledger who played the Joker, he's got to get an Oscar for that performance. If he would have lived, he could very well have become one of the great character actors ever. He was the show; without him, the movie would have just been good.
Well, Peter's Sunday Party For One was again a great success. I revisited 07/25's Moroccan dish with an Apricot and herb relish this time fixed with pork and over a bed of parsley and cumin spiced long grain brown rice. I washed it all down with a pleasant Chardonnay and complemented with a Swiss Chard and lettuce mix salad. No problem.
And the movie of the night, The Bucket List with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, was a perfect end to another great weekend. But then, all my weekends are great. So, that's not really saying much, except that you get out of life what you put in.
08/13/08: Marissa Vacation
Marissa left this afternoon with Gary and his whole family to drive down to Bush Gardens and Colonial Williamsberg for a vacation.
I called her Thursday and they had already been to the beach and were going to Bush Gardens in the morning.
Sounds like a lot of fun; I remember when I was down there with both Colin and Marissa, and how much fun it was - though I'm not an amusement park fan. But they enjoyed it.
The picture of her was taken by our friend Neal Whicher onboard his 32' catamaran, Ming out in the river in Dover.
08/15/08: Escape From the Jaws of Backgammon Defeat
Several weeks ago when I indicated that I to go see the new movie Mamma Mia I was met with blank stares. So, Thursday night after karate class when I said I was going this weekend, only Nidan Rick Downs was game for it.
So, he swung by Friday afternoon after work and we headed down to Castaways for dinner and a little premovie backgammon. I was going into this 2 points down from Thursday's games, and looking for a pull-back from the brink of defeat. But it wasn't to be... Nope, I ended up 12 down!
But the movie was great; has to be one of the best "feel good" movies of all time. It was just spectacularly engaging and fun. I had seen the play in Boston about 6 years ago and always wanted to see it again. The movie was every bit as good.
Why am I running on about Mamma Mia? Well, we had such a good time at the show that when we got out, Rick commented dryl on how early it was, and wouldn't it be nice to play a little more backgammon. Sure, sure, Rick... I know what's up with that. It's been a long time since he's got me that far in the hole and was looking to put me deeper for all the times I've hammered him.
But you know, if you walk in the forest too long, you're just liable to get bit by the tiger - as the Chinese saying goes. So back to my place we go. Of course, we had to listen to my CD of ABBA with all of the songs from the movie turned up loud. I know: how infantile is that, right?
Anyway, to make a very long and grinding story short, it took me two full sets to do it, but I at least worked the score to even. Rick left, and I plopped on the sofa and listened to the ABBA CD all the way through again. Gad... Someone needs to reach out to me now with an ABBA Intervention...
Saturday and most of Sunday was consumed with manuscript editing, but I made a lot of progress. So, at least I've got most of the major work for this run done and out of the way. Completing as much as I have done takes a lot of the pessure off.
Marissa and Gary dropped in late Sunday morning. They had just got back from a 12 hour drive back from Bush Gardens at 4:00am. She said she was fine despite not sleeping at all, but planned on an early to bed and sleep-in on Monday. I'm sure the crash will come suddenly and who knows when she'll get up. She brought me back a really nice Virginia coffee mug and a great Colonial Williamsberg ball cap. Oh, and then she hit me up for ten bucks for Dunkin Donuts...
And Peter's Sunday Party For One was another great success with an Italian Pork with White and Tomatoes in an onion, garlic, bay leaf, and parsley sauce. As sides, I had rice and herbed steamed Brussels sprouts. Not bad for a city boy. Started off the evening with Phil Collins' CD No Jacket Required, some Rod Stewart, and then Simone Dinnerstein with J.S. Bach's Goldberg Variations - considered by many to be one of the most difficult works to perform because of its complexity of encompassing the Baroque period. Good stuff done by an exceptional performer.
08/22/08: Weekend Movie Night Out Get Together
Once again, the great advance planners that we are, after karate class Thursday we all decided that it was a grand weekend coming up to get together and see The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. So, after work Friday I sent out a note; short notice so didn't expect much. But I knew I would be there and have fun! And it was! Check out the pictures of our movie night out.
Friday night I had dinner at Christopher's here in Dover. A friend at work had suggested it so I thought I'd give it a try. I was really impressed. Nice atmosphere, friendly waitstaff, and great food. That's a gem and I'll be back there. Then I came home to watch the dvd I had picked up at Hollywood Video.
It was awful. And so was the second one! They lasted all of ten minutes each. So I watched City Hall on Comcast OnDemand. Al Pacino and John Cusack were outstanding. Can't stand closing out a Friday night with a bad movie. Glad that one worked out or I would have been up way too late...
Saturday was bright and sunny and warm. I was out on the deck with my coffee reading most of the day. But then off to Castaways restaurant on the water in Dover to meet up with everyone. We had four backgammon boards going with lots of trash talk, a nice dinner, and good fun. Unfortunately, the movie fell short; just a little corny and too much reliance on special effects - in my humble opinion.
After the movie, we came back to my condo, played more backgammon, and watched the movie Invincible, which I have on Blu-ray, so pretty cool. Some hadn't seen it, though I certainly have. I enjoyed it.
Friday, at Christopher'sI had tried the Chicken Oregano in white wine, and loved it so much that I thought I'd try to duplicate it for my Peter's Sunday Party For One and see how close, and then try again next week. Well, I got a little carried away with the asparagus, and the orange peppers that I got were too spicy; both pulled the flavor too much away from what I was trying to achieve. But, the meal was excellent. And, when I was reducing the sauce there was so much steam from the pan that I set the friggin' smoke detector off; haven't done that in awhile.
08/28/08: Labor Day Weekend Shuffle
Thursday night's karate group had a special pre Labor Day clinic on Tai Chi, Chi Gong, and Chi Sau
taught by one of my most senior disciples and students of well over 20 years, Yondan Russ Jones of the Sachem Self Defense School in Laconia, NH. Accompanying him were two of his students, Kate and Lisa.
Fortunately, the evening was cool and so the workout was comfortably attended by nine students rangeing in rank from Orange Belt into the black belt levels including myself.
After training for over an hour, we headed up to Applebee's at the Dover Circle for some food, good conversation, and some combat backgammon. Time slipped by so quickly that before we knew it, it was 11:00. With over an hour's drive to get back to Laconia, Yondan Jones gathered his folks together and we headed out. It was great having them all come down to see us, and we'll look forward to the next time we can gather together.
Friday night I headed out for dinner out to Christopher's again for a couple of reasons. First, just to kick off the long Labor Day weekend. And second, to try their Chicken Oregano again so I could take another run at trying to duplicate it. The second part proved to be challenging because the dish was prepared just slightly different - though delicious.
My version, if I must say, actually came out better - but then it had a stronger Oregano presence, cherry tomatoes, and just a spanking of another couple of herbs that I won't mention because I don't want anyone to think that's the way Christopher's does it, nor would I want to have someone over to dinner sometime that had read this and expect the same thing.
Rarely, if ever, does anything I cook come out the same. Probably because I shoot from the hip every time I step up to the stove.
Up before 8:00 a.m. Saturday morning to write. Rarely do I get a three day spread to concentrate on full development issues, and so I took good advantage of that. Between Saturday and Monday night I was able to put in over 20 hours of effort and an additional 40 pages of writing. Great progress.
Saturday night I should have gone into the closet and banged my head against a wall. My disciple Rick Downs and I got together for a movie night, but we always preface that with dinner out and some backgammon. We went to Castaways because it's such a great spot in the summer. But, man... the magic just wasn't there for me. I got a serious ass-whoopin' and dragged myself out of Castaways a 13 point dog. I know, I know... disgusting.
But the movie of the night, Next with Nicholas Cage was spectacular. It didn't make up for being a loser but it at least distracted me for a couple of hours...
Sunday, I wrote all day not pushing back from the desk until 5:00pm when I just had to go shopping. Peter's Sunday Party For One was, as I mentioned, Chicken Oragano. I had a great time sipping the wine, and cooking, and sipping the wine - marvelous. And the movie of the night, Spartan was every bit as good if not better than Next. I could watch either of those again. And probably will.
Monday, Labor Day, was bright and sunny and warm with a gentle cooling breeze. I had planned to sit out on the deck and read, but I was on such a writing roll that I just sat down and never pulled my head out of it until about 6:00pm for a dinner break. But I was whipped - my brain was fried from all of the concentration required from writing. So, I finished off some final thoughts and folded up the writing tent for the weekend. Too Late For Later is now at the 314 page mark, and well on its way to pulling all the loose ends together for the close. Maybe another 20 pages? Don't know; just have to play that as the dreams come to me...
09/05/08: Labor Day Weekend Party Continues
Sure, why not continue with Labor Day? The weather before had been miserable so now that it's nice, and all the tourists are gone, enjoy! Yup, so Friday night out for dinner to try the new Mexican restaurant Margaritas. And, of course, I had to have a Margarita! Could have got in trouble with two of those, but wisely limited it to just one. Back to the house to watch Rendition which turned out to be pretty exciting and interesting.
I had ordered Stephen King book, On Writing, and had planned to sit out on the deck and get into it. But the day was cool, windy and overcast and threatening rain at any minute - which it did storm later. So, I got my coffee and started working on the final scenes for Too Late For Later.
One of my students had wanted to learn what all this web development stuff that I do is all about. He came over about 3:30, and we worked until 5:00. Then, it was off to Castaways to meet up with Rick and whoever else for dinner and backgammon. But just after we got there, it started to rain. It poured! Remnants of Hurricane Hannah, I believe. It was really pretty sitting there by the river and playing backgammon. Even Jonathan, our waiter, got a game in with me. Then back to the house where we met up with Brian, another student, to watch his movie recommendation, Gattica.
That was an early night, so I was up early Sunday morning and to the writing right away. But then Marissa called and wanted to go food shopping early because there was an accident on the road to her mom's and... well, the full logic of it escapes me, but we went food shopping. Got back, wrote a little more, and then popped a bottle of wine and started Peter's Sunday Party For One. I fixed stir fry chicken, broccoli, and pea pods in a mystery herd sauce and it was marvelous. Closed out, or so I thought, the evening with My Mom's New Boyfriend. Everyone turns their nose up when they hear I watched that, but it is really a cute, engaging movie. It's close to perfect.
And then, oh my gosh - woke up out of a sound sleep Sunday night with several of the final scenes I had been working on for Too Late For Later trying to blast their way out of my skull. I had to drag myself out of bed, go down to the library, and write out three pages of thoughts. Gad, there must be an easier way to be a writer...
09/10/08: Office End Of Summer Appreciation Party
NAVSEALOGCENDET PORTS (translation: Naval Sea Logistics Command Detachment Portsmouth, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, NH) where I work, held an end of summer appreciation picnic Wednesday afternoon out on Newcastle Commons. The weather was just perfect, and it was great to see and chat a little with everyone in a different environment than work. Pizza, Moes Subs, salads, chicken wings, soda, ice cream, and fried chicken tenders made a terrific lunch out under the big pavilion close to the mouth of Portsmouth Harbor. I'm not much for baseball, but after walking over to the beach and chatting with one of the guys, I parked it on the grass and watched all the weekend warriors killing themselves.
09/20/08: The Great 2008 Talk Like A Pirate Backgammon Tournament And Scuttlebutt Pizza Barrel
This was the first party after the summer break, so it was great to see a good turnout for The Great 2008 Talk Like A Pirate Backgammon Tournament And Scuttlebutt Pizza Barrel.
Most of us had been playing constantly through the summer, so the games were pretty intense.
And instead of the usual movie of the night, I ran all three of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, complements of Steve! ARRRR!. They started at 5:00 and it was a pretty late night!
We even broke in a new player: welcome Rickey! Nothing like getting involved in a tournament 15 minutes after learning the game, hu? We'll see if he comes back for another run at it.
By the way, a good intro to backgammon that isn't just fluff but shows how the game can get really complicated in both its tactics and strategy really fast, check out Bill Robertie's Backgammon for Serious Players. Everyone that I have introduced the game to I have had read this, and it has accelerated their game understanding and appreciation by a year.
For food, I had pizza delivered. And that was prefaced with plenty of snacks and drinks. It was a great party as you'll see from the pictures!
09/27/08: Rose School of Karate 2008 Disciple Retreat
I held my 2008 Disciple Retreat for my direct karate disciples here in Dover again this year during the weekend of 09/26. We kicked things off (no pun intended) Thursday night with a workout session and then a gathering up at Applebee's here in Dover.
We worked straight through Friday until early evening, only pausing for about twenty minutes to eat delivered subs for lunch. We broke around 5:30 for some snacks and backgammon, which got pretty rowdy as everyone unwound from the intensity of the day's session. For dinner Friday, we cooked in; it was a marvelous spaghetti and garlic bread feed.
Saturday, everyone reported on site early, and all participated in fixing some terrific omelets for breakfast. As I took some individule time with some of the disciples, I had Yondan Jones work through some Tai Chi exercises and forms work with the others. I had wanted to get some time in to work on Rose Crane with everyone, but wasn't able to get to it; just too many other things on the agenda.
We had subs delivered early so as to save room for our dinner out later that evening to the The Governor's Inn where we had a marvelous time and closed the place down.
At dinner Saturday night, I was presented with a 40 years in the martial arts plaque from all C&S Self Defense Association disciples. It is a truly magnificent tribute, and one which means more to me than anyone could imagine. My deepest thanks to all for your continued participation in our art.
Sunday, we were back at it early and I wrapped things up at noon so everyone could get back home and take care of their normal lives.
Sandan Parker and I continued right on, though, as his flight didn't leave until Monday afternoon. We went shopping and I fixed terragon pork chops for dinner. We had a great bottle of Merlot that he had brought with him, and ended the night just relaxing.
10/01/08: Celebrating Fall In New England
What better excuse to get together and have dinner at Castaways, play some backgammon, and then the movie of the night than the real start of fall here in New England. So, that's just what we did. The movie of the night was another Brian recommendation, Equilibrium which turned out to be a pretty interesting choice. We have too much fun...
10/05/08: Finishing Up My Novel
Marissa came over and took this shot of me working away on the final edit of my latest novel Too Late For Later. It's been a long haul, but an enjoyable one.
I woke up in the middle of the night - actually about 2:00am back in Feburary of 2008 - and was just compelled to get up and write a few paragraphs of the scene that had brought me out of my sleep.
That opening scene has blossomed into 380 pages of a really fast paced financial thriller. It's actually my third novel, and I have definitely hit my stride and style with it. It's a keeper!
Now I'll have to see if anyone else on the planet likes it other than the four or five friends who have read it and thought it was good. Good would be fine; publishable would be even better, but that's a whole new effort.
Marissa also sent me this picture of her and Gary. Both pictures were taken with her new super camera, and you can really tell the difference in quality.
I've got a pretty good camera, actually a hand-me-down from her, but it can't compare with this one - particularly when I flub up and forget to make sure the shutter slider focus thingie isn't on portrait mode... Gad, I keep forgetting to check that and then Marissa 'Ansel Adams' there really puts it to me.
Anyway, I think I should be able to finish the book off maybe even next weekend. I've put about 20 hours a weekend into these last scenes for the past few weekends when I didn't have a karate retreat or anything else going on, and have the final 10 or 12 scenes in draft form; it's all a matter of weaving them together and keeping the pace of the story up.
10/07/08: Marissa Loses A Friend
Marissa's guinea pig and long time good buddy Chewie died today after a thankfully short illness. I think the last time she lost a guinea pig was Bailey back in 2003. Always a sad event, and I know she'll miss him.
10/08/08: Dinner With Colin
To celebrate Colin's new raise and going to flat rate, I took him out to dinner to The Texas Roadhouse for a steak. Yeah, I overdid it with an 11 oz. serloin, but what can you do...
10/10/08: Friday Night And It's Alright
I left work a little early Friday so I could take the long way home across Rt. 101 from Kittery out to where it meets Rt. 236. It's a beautiful drive, and the leaves were just spectacular. I stumbled onto a really different radio station, WXGR, that plays all sorts of alternative, club mix, dance, etc. type music and was having such a good time that I decided to continue my drive through the fall foliage by taking Rt. 155 from Dover out through into Lee, and then hooking over Rt. 155A to Durham. Just loved it. And, since I was in Durham, I stopped off and got take out Chinese, came home, had a feast, and then a relaxing movie before tumbling into bed as I was beat.
10/17/08: Another Friday Night And It's Alright
As the leaves are really reaching their peak, I decided to repeat last Friday's foliage adventure over Routes 101, 155, and 155A. And yes, I had to stop in Durham for take out Chinese again. People come from literally all over the world to see this, so I'm not going to miss it just because I live here! How rude that would be...
And by Saturday afternoon I had completed the final run through on my novel Too Late For Later. Done! Okay, so the next step is to ship it down to my brother Alan "The Chainsaw" for the college professor's red pen folly, and then I hold my breath...
Sunday, I was up early with a cup of coffee and situatuated comfortably in the living room with the full splendor of Fall streaming through the windows. I spent a really nice, easy day finishing Stephen King's On Writing, and then headed off to the store for food shopping. I was in the mood to cook, but wasn't real sure what that would turn out to be so I just winged it.
I ended up with what I will call Three Bean Mix in a Harbenaro Pepper, Sage, Parsley, and Cabernet Sauvignon Saute. And for S&G, I did another side of Rosemary Mushrooms with Prosciutto, scallions, sweet red pepper, and Spinnach leaves. And I drank too much of the Cabernet, of course. But it was a grand time cooking away with Vivaldi’s ‘The Four Seasons’ booming out encouragement. How much better could it get? Guess what... it can't. Peter - out!
10/25/08: A Fun Fall Weekend
Fall is closing down with its deep rusts and chocolate browns and many leaves blanketing the ground.
I just had to leave work early again Friday so I could drive out into the country side. And that was just the start of another great fall weekend.
My long time student and disciple, Rick Downs, is always up for a "Road Trip", so when I called Friday, he was up for it, particularly when I told him I planned to have dinner at Dante's Pasta & Vino out in Barrington, NH.
It was a spectacular drive out along Route 9 to Route 125 in Barrington. There were still some leaves that were bright, bright red and yellow and orange. Anyway, too short of a drive, but really nice. Our meal was great, highlighted by our server, Wendy, who took good care of us.
Saturday was a reading day, for the most part. Marissa came over around lunchtime and carved my two pumpkins and made a huge mess of the table. But before she left, she cleaned everything up and you would have never known the disaster area in the picture existed. You can see her artisticness on the great fall weekend page! She's something, she is...
Later that evening a bunch of us met up at Castaways restaurant here in Dover for some backgammon and dinner. After that, we came back to my place to watch the Blu-ray DVD I had rented, The Terminator - the first one.
Well, after we got done with that we just had to watch the second one as well since we were on such a roll. But I threw a flag on the field at midnight when there was some mumbling about watching the third one. Next week, maybe...
It rained pretty hard all Saturday night and into Sunday morning. But the sun broke around mid morning and it was beautiful sitting in the living room, reading, and watching the light pour off of the leaves rustling in a pretty stiff left over storm breeze.
10/29/08: Dinner With Colin
Colin gave me a call last week and we decided to get together for dinner again. He met me at the house after work, and we drove over to Durham to grab take-out Chinese. Ran into a brief snow shower on the way! That was pretty interesting; first snow of the season. After dinner, we just sat in the living room and chatted for awhile.
10/30/08: Trick Or Treat
Thursday was Dover's 'Trick-or-Treat' night from 5:00pm - 8:00pm. I scooted out of work early so I could get home.
I didn't want to miss any of the kids as so few come around anymore. I always enjoyed taking Colin and Marissa out, and so I'll always try to be there for any other kids who come out.
I lit up both of the pumpkins that Marissa had carved, and then did the candy thing while chatting with a couple of my karate students who had come over.
To get a really good view of those pumpkins, check out the great fall weekend page. She just really makes my life every year when she carves my pumpkins for Halloween.
Anyway, after Trick-or-Treat ended, we all headed up to Applebee's for some backgammon and food.
10/31/08: Halloween Dinner Out
Halloween night so what better time to get together and have dinner out! I met up with Rick and Linda at The Muddy River Smokehouse out on Rt. 236 at 6:00pm. They had just got back from walking their dogs down in Kittery, ME, and were ready to eat some food. We had a great dinner; me - a half rack of BBQ Baby Back Ribs. Yeah, baby back...
Then we came back to my place, and watched Resident Evil; how can you beat Milla Jovovich, anyway... Linda hadn't even heard of it, and when she found out there were two more she was all hacked off because she had to leave as she had an early call in the morning for work. But Rick and I stayed and watched Underworld in Blue-ray that Steve had dropped off last week for my party Saturday. Couldn't wait til then; had to watch it right now! Another late night...
11/01/08: The Great 2008 Halloween Backgammon Tournament And Witches Stew Brew
The The Great 2008 Halloween Backgammon Tournament And Witches Stew Brew on Saturday Nov. 1st was my 45th backgammon get together dinner party since moving here to the Garrison in June of 2004. And this one was just great; too much fun!
I started cooking the Witches Stew Brew (actually, a marvelous thyme based Italian Beef Stew) at 4:00pm with the movie Van Helsing running as background.
We broke for dinner around 7:15pm, and then at 8:00pm I put the movie of the night on: 30 Days of Night>. Now that's a scary movie...
Only Scott, Steve, Rick and I bore up under the pressure, and finished the movie. That ended about 9:45 and everyone except Steve left and we watched 'Underworld 2' but he was nodding out toward the end and he left so I had to finish it all up on my own...
11/07/08: Weekend Adventures and Movie Night At The Garrison
I started the weekend off with a wonderful dinner out on Friday night at Dover's Blue Latitudes. First time there, and had a great meal. I'll be going back there for sure. I had the Chicken Piccata and found it one of the best I've had, though with all of the capers I suspect the salt content was way up there.
Next time I'm in, I'll have to ask about that.
Actually, I've been amazed at the salt content that our foods have that I've tried to be alert to prepared foods that have additional salt added. Oh sure, capers are packaged in salt brine so there's not much you can do there. But if the sauces that are made for the dish also have a high salt content then that's just not healthy.
For example, without much thought the other day I pulled a can of Progresso soup off the shelf. After I finished, I looked at the can. 960mg of Sodium! And that's them assuming you're going to get 2 servings - that's 1900mg for the can! Holy crap, Angus! Are you guys kidding me? The whole can wouldn't feed a gerbil... That is the last can of Progresso soup that I will ever have.
Oh, I knew some of them were a little high in Sodium. But 960mg? Screw you guys...
Okay, off the salt bandwagon... Got up Saturday morning around 9:00am and did some more editing on my book, Cane Use For Health and Protection as I will be using that for some of the Intermediate level classes that I will be teaching.
That went pretty smooth, and I was able to finish up by mid afternoon. No pictures as yet, but at least the text part is pretty well nailed down. Anyway, after that, I was able to catch some reading time before folks started showing up for another Movie Night At The Garrison.
Saturday night was the Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and then the 2nd in the Resident Evil series, Resident Evil: Apocalypse.
Both mindlessly entertaining with great special effects.
Even though it wasn't planned, everyone jumped on the backgammon boards for awhile until the pizza came, and then there was silence for about 15 minutes. Marissa shut all the lights off, and we enjoyed the show on the big screen.
I had Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines on regular DVD, but Steve had loaned me his Blu-ray of Resident Evil: Apocalypse. And that was just spectacular. But my Sony Playstation-3 did a great job of up-converting the Terminator DVD as well; sometimes it's so good, it's hard to tell it's regular DVD until you put a Blu-ray in and see the difference.
Sunday, I just kicked back and relaxed for the day. The sun finally broke out late morning after being hidden by several days of rain.
Most of the leaves have now fallen to the ground, the rain weighing them down making them easy prey for the winds that have been racing around us. Fall has just about fell.
Since the day remained nice, I decided that it would be a good time for my annual 'UNH Walkabout'. I got a late start and then just had fun driving around campus and the town seeing all of the trees that had changed just in the last week. So, I didn't have time to get out and walk the campus as I usually do. But I did roll through town and grab this shot, which seems to have become the picture I take every year. It's a little poor because the sun was setting behind the building and I had to snap quick because of the traffic. But, there it is anyway... Leaves all but gone, and scattered across the lawn.
And then... there was "Peter's Sunday Party For One". Sorry, I just can't help myself; can't follow the recipe, gotta mess with it.
You know, as I mentioned I had such a great Chicken Piccata at the Blue Latitudes Friday that I wanted to give it a shot of my own. I have to say... well, I locked this one down, baby!
Besides messing somewhat with the basic recipe by seasoning the breaded chicken with Rosemary, I fixed a white wine and thyme based mushroom, cherry tomato, and spinnach side that was out of this world.
Yup, had quite a great time of it I did as can be seen from the shot of the meal ready to dive into. James Taylor sang in the background as I cooked and sipped my Chardonnay. A great end to a very peaceful, relaxing, and productive weekend.
11/15/08: Movie Night At The Garrison
It had to be done. We just had to make a spaghetti dinner and watch The Fifth Element. Yeah, yeah - I know: it's pretty trite and stupid. But... it had Milla Jovovich... Nuf' said
11/16/08: Dinner Party At The Garrison
I had my neighbor Ann and her mother Dot over for dinner tonight. I had told Ann that when the all of the remodeling work was done on her unit, I'd have them over. I fixed an Italian thyme beef stew with small red potatoes and onion. For sides, I did rosemary and sage steamed Brussels sprouts, and had a boxed rice. And lots of Merlot, besides what went into the sauce for the stew.
11/22/08: The Great 2008 Thanksgiving Backgammon Tournament And Chicken Drumstick Substitute
It was a great night for a Thanksgiving backgammon dinner party - the temperature was probably around -3 degrees F because of the howling wind that had blown all day.
So it was pretty cozy at The Garrison with the oven on and all the rowdy backgammon games going on while I cooked.
Because next week is Thanksgiving itself, I didn't want to overpower everyone with turkey - there'd be enough of that coming - and who wants weeks and weeks of turkey, anyway.
So, I decided on a great recipe that I found for baked chicken drumsticks on a bed of kale and small red potatoes mixed with olive oil and white wine. Of course, I couldn't leave the recipe alone, and had to put my own touches to it. But it came out just great.
Before starting the movie of the night, Night At The Museum, we had apple pie that Tim had brought along with some great ice cream that Linda had contributed.
11/27/08: Thanksgiving With Colin And Marissa
Colin and Marissa came over about 10:00am for Thanksgiving Day. I had informed them that there would be a mandatory period of
watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on tv. But that was all just background for a wonderful time for just the three of us to chat as a family.
I had decided to fix Rock Cornish Game Hens for Thanksgiving dinner. I knew they would be overpowered with turkey other places over the next few days, and they both love hens the way I cook them.
Marissa had brought over a copy of WALL-E knowing how much I love that movie - purposefully, I'm sure - to distract me. So, we watched about an hour of that until I had to get up and start fixing dinner. After WALL-E finished, the hens still had awhile to cook and so the kids picked Top Gun to put on.
With other stops on their agenda, Colin and Marissa headed out around 4:00pm. I had assured them that they would be cut loose by no later than 3:00pm, but that, of course, was prior to someone bringing WALL-E over to throw the chef's timing off... I had been stying pretty much ahead of the cleanup, so just some dishes to do. By 5:15pm I was parked on the sofa and relaxing as I had been on my feet pretty much the whole day.
11/28/08: Day Off, Long Weekend, and First Snow!
I took Friday off from work as it had been awhile since I had a long weekend. Thanksgiving must have worn me out because I slept in until after 9:00am. I just had a nice quite day relaxing and catching up on some paperwork, and stuff around the house.
Saturday I took my car over to Colin and he did an oil change and some scheduled maintenance stuff he had wanted to get done. From there, I was off to look for a new TV console and some other things for the condo. I found a great console at Cabot House in Portsmouth, but it will take several weeks for delivery. Also got a very nice round old world wood end table to replace the more Colonial one I have now.
Out to dinner and around Saturday night, but up early Sunday for some writing I had been wanting to do. Spent a relaxing afternoon in the living room reading The Great Gatsby. It had been overcast all day, and cold. About 3:00pm I looked out of the window, and it was snowing lightly! The first snow of the year!
12/02/08: Moon and Planet Alignment Spectical
As I was leaving work Tuesday 12/02, I looked up in the sky and clearly saw the crescent of the Moon with Jupiter and the even brighter Venus just below and to the right. How often does that happen! [Actually, the next time Venus, Jupiter, and the moon will be as close and visible as they were on December 1, 2008 will be November 18, 2052.]
12/07/08: Movie Night Out Road Trip
A group of us got together Saturday night for a 'Movie Night Out Road Trip'. We met in Kittery, ME at Loco Coco's Tacos. Lots of Dos Equis and great authentic Mexican food made a terrific start to the night. And from there, it was off to the new James Bond movie, Quantum Of Solace at the theaters at the mall in Newington, NH. Ah yes... infantile in our pursuits and easily entertained; it's all true. But it was a good time even though this Bond movie fell short of the last one, Casino Royale with Daniel Craig's first appearance as James Bond.
Woke up Sunday morning to a light dusting of snow; first one this season to actually stick. Spent a relaxing afternoon in the living room reading The Great Gatsby, and finished of the night with Peter's Sunday Party For One which featured a white wine, parsley and thyme marinated mushroom and shallot risotto.
12/16/08: Storm Parties
Winter in New England struck with a frenzy Thursday the 11th with what would turn out to be a devastating ice storm.
320,000 people in New Hampshire alone lost power with 89,000 in the greater Portsmouth region. Even as I write this 12/20 getting caught up with entries, there are many who still have not had power restored. My power went out Friday morning around 2:00am and didn't come back on until Monday mid afternoon.
Fortunately for us all, the temperatures remained above freezing. Otherwise, things could have been much worse with so many without power. After work Friday, I went to the mall to grab a bite to eat at the Food Court as the whole of downtown Dover and much of Portsmouth was blacked out. Talk about a mob scene... elbow to elbow everywhere. After eating, I just went home and to bed.
We all thought power would be restored by Saturday afternoon, but that wasn't the case. I got a fire going in the fireplace and just read most of the day. Out to dinner and a movie Saturday night, and Sunday Colin and Marissa and Marissa's boyfriend
Gary took me out to get a Christmas tree. After they decorated the tree, I took them out to dinner at Applebee's in Newington. Marissa and Gary weren't interested in a movie, so Colin and I went by ourselves. And finally, I found out Monday afternoon around 3:00pm that the power was back on at my place. Finally! It was getting a little cold at night sleeping in a 42F degree room.
So, things go smooth through the week until Friday 12/19 we get clobbered with a fast moving snow storm that burred us in about 8 inches of snow by late Friday night. But that didn't stop 6 of us from getting together and having dinner down at the Olive Garden in Newington, and then coming back to my condo for the movie of the night.
The snow kept up all day Saturday and into the night making the trip up to the Williams family Christmas party in North Berwick, ME interesting. Well, if you're interested you can get a few more details and some pictures of all of this by following this link to the Storm Parties page!
12/21/08: In The Snowbank
Saturday night 12/20 the snow fell all night and all day Sunday. And Sunday it really, really piled up. Dover got around 15 inches. The wind just whipped it everywhere. I tried to drive out around 3:00pm to go to Hannaford's to do food shopping, but I couldn't even get out of the Garrison complex the snow was so deep. But it was a really lovely day in the library writing and watching the storm through the windows.
I was concerned about getting into work Monday morning if the plow guy didn't get the complex cleaned out, but when I got up it had been cleared out. Well, more like pushed into mountains of snow everywhere. But I could drive out. Parking on the shipyard was thrilling, of course. But at least they were staying ahead of the snow; plows were everywhere as were piles of snow. And the wind just howled between the buildings.
So, Monday night I go out from my office on the shipyard toward the bowling alley parking lot where I park my car, and one of the guys comes flying by me with his hair on fire. I wasn't going to go up the pathway to the lot because of the snow and ice and my hip; I was just going to walk down the road and come back up the hill - slowly.
But Alan charges toward the path by the ball park between two huge towers of snow. So I decide, what the heck - let's give it a go. I get up the steep part carefully and am doing okay till I get about half way to the lot when my cane drives through the snow about halfway throwing me totally off balance. Stupid - I swing my bad leg out to compensate and bury it almost up to my hip in the snow. Now I'm thinking, am I gonna be able to pull my leg out of this snow pile or what, or will they find me here in the Spring...
Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it...
Colin and Marissa came over early Thursday Christmas morning. I had a pot of hot cinnamon spiced apple cider going.
We each got mugs of that, went into the living room, and just had a wonderful visit for an hour or so before opening gifts.
Though short in time, it was the highlight of the year for me to share the day with them.