2012 Rose Family Events Archives...
      For current events, go to the Rose family website page.
01/06/12: Kerra Rhodes Passes Away
Sadly, Kerra Rhodes passed away Tuesday the 3rd and her service was today. It was nice to see old students John Cafarella and Charlie Arlington who were able to make it. David had asked me to speak as I had known Kerra for 35+ years. Though an honor, it was tough going. We just went home, had a quiet spaghetti dinner, and watched the movie The Fountainhead. Sorry, no 'happy, happy' to start this year off with.

01/07/12: Tamworth Visit
Around 2:00pm Saturday afternoon, Sue and I headed north to Tamworth, NH to visit the Current Picture grave site of her grandmother who would have been 100 years old today. Sue's mom joined us at the cemetery and then we all went over to White Lake.

We had wanted to get some pictures of sunset, but it was so cloudy that we just headed back home.

On the spur of the moment, we decided to stop in Rochester, NH for dinner at The Governor's Inn, a sort of a celebration as the 6th was my 2 year anniversary of The Great Hip Replacement Ordeal.

01/14/12: Holiday Day Weekend
Saturday 01/14 at noon, Jim and Chris Nancarrow came over and we all drove up to Portland, ME to the Merrill Auditorium for the 2:00pm performance of Mamma Mia. Though cold outside, the play was full of warmth and energy; a packed house!

After the show, we drove over to the Old Port to Cinque Terre at 36 Wharf Street for one of the best Northern Italian meals I have ever had; their Fettuccini ("Hand Cut Pasta, Shrimp, girasols, pancetta, pine nuts, chili flakes) as my 'Primi' was one of the best meals I have ever had. But then came the 'Secondi' of a pork loin that just blew me away. A great meal!.

Sunday, Sue and I went for a power walk in the zero degree over at Kingman Farm and then went food shopping on the way home. While she talke with her son in Lima, Peru, I worked on my research project. After that, we both went into the living room and read for awhile before I started working on the first part of the meal:a baked seseme and ginger chicken and butternut squash dish over basmatti rice cooked in a parsely, rosemary, and chive broth. The movie of the night was the interesting 2011 Jane Eyre.

Monday, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Sue and I headed out for a walk in the fridged weather over to Wagon Hill Park. We got back in time for a Skype call to my brother Alan, which we both enjoyed; what a great thing Skype has turned out to be. Anyway, it was great to chat for awhile. We ended off the day with some reading and then I cooked up an on the fly scallop dish sauted in garlic, sherry, and olive oil with a dash of thyme, red pepper, and some-thin else I can't remember - it really was on the fly! And we enjoyed a nice fire with the cute movie of the night recommended by my brother, A Family Thing.

01/28/12: Busy Friday Night
I left work early on Friday as I had a business meeting in Dover. From there, I drove up to Colin's work and dropped my car off for him to put my snow tires on, do an alignment, and all that. Sue had followed me up so on the drive back we decided to stop off at The 99 restaurant at the Weeks Crossing in Dover for dinner. Because it was early when we got home, we played some backgammon and then watched the Bourne Supremacy, the second in the series - we had watched the first one, the Bourne Identity the weekend before. Nice way to end up the week.

01/28/12: The Great 2012 Two Year Hip Replacement Ordeal Memorial Backgammon Tournament And Snowshoe Challenge!
Just Rick, Tim, Sue, and me at The Great 2012 Two Year Hip Replacement Ordeal Memorial Backgammon Tournament And Snowshoe Challenge! because of Current Picture short notice and flukey weather. But we had fun!

I fixed Italian herbed sweet sausage, mushroom, and broccoli in a thick yogurt and wine sauce and the movie of the night was Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) that none of us had seen; what great special effects.

Sue and I had planned to go on a snowshoe challenge hike over at Kingman Farm in Durham at 3:00pm with anyone wanting to join us. But because of the warm weather and no one available to do so, we decided to go on an explore out to Strafford, NH looking for an antique store Sue had heard about after running some morning errands. We were gone on that most of the day, not getting back home from food shopping for the party until late afternoon.

01/29/12: Sunday Tapas Party
Sue and I had decided to fix several tapas meals for our Sunday dinner party and extend the The Great 2012 Two Year Hip Replacement Ordeal Memorial Backgammon Tournament And Snowshoe Challenge. Current Picture We knew we were going to have to get a fairly early start to the prep work, but had at least acquired all of the food we would need during yesterday's shopping.

We did have to scoot out mid day to pick up a pair of matching white wicker 3 drawer dressers that Sue thought would go just great in the studio. Unfortunately, I had assumed that they would fit in my car, but not only didn't they both fit - neither one would fit. The woman was so kind about it and offered to load the stuff into her vehicle and bring it over to the condo for us!

I had a bunch of work to do on my research project, and so Sue headed out to go for a walk in the woods. When she got back, we poured out some wine, and got the pork tenerloin marinade put together and soaking into the meat. After that, we took glasses of wine and played 3 sets of backgammon resulting in a tie, of all things.... I was just not throwing good, and so it was fortunate that we ran out of time and had to go do all of the prep work at 5:00pm or I could possible have ended up with a negative score! No way!!

We did roasted pork tenderloin Current Picture with adobo marinade, wine and herb sauteed mushrooms, and orange, ginger, cumin, and garlic marinated carrots with a Chilean Pinot Noir that smoothed out really nicely as it aired.

Sue also did a hot spinach salad sauteed with garlic, diced apples, pine nuts, and raisins. This being our first foray into fixing Tapas after first trying it while out in New Mexico this past summer, we wanted to make sure we could pull it all together before having guests over. Success!

While cooking, we listend to Cirque du Soleil Delirium and a CD by Enya, and then with dinner Adele's CD '21' with a nice fire crackling in the background. We finished off the night with the 2010 movie Fair Game.

02/03/12: Photography Adventure To Mt. Desert Island, ME
On Friday 02/03/12 we packed up the car with photography and snowshoeing gear and headed north for a weekend trip to Maine’s Mr. Desert Island. Sue had wanted for years to go up to take winter photographs of probably one of the country’s Current Picture most spectacular islands, and we decided to combine that with my first attempt at snowshoeing.

Well, the photograph part went better than expected but I’d just speculate that Miami Beach had more snow than we found up there! Of course, being an island sticking way out into the Gulf of Maine had something to do with it, but even the locals said that snowfall had been really sparse, though most of the roads through Arcadia National Park were closed due to ice.

It was a great trip but after getting home around 5:00pm Sunday, we quickly unpacked, and played backgammon and watched the first half of the Patriots and Giants in the Super Bowl while eating delivered Chinese food. Neither of us are really big football fans and the first half was all we could take (Pats ultimately lost 21-17) so the movie of the night was the third in the Bourne series, Bourne Ultimatum

02/08/12: Dinner At Marissa's
Marissa and Gary invited Sue and I, Rickey, and Gary's parents Gary and Darleen over for dinner Tuesday 02/08. It had been awhile since we had been over there or seen Gary's parents. We ended off the night with a few games of pool - I am horrible at pool and even worse after several glasses of wine.

02/14/12/12: Valentine's Day Surprise Dinner
I walked in the door Tuesday, Valentine's Day, after work and Sue had blocked off the hallway into the living room with one of the dining room Current Picture dividers with a sign proclaiming: "Hearts Afire, Patrons Only".

I was ushered into through the kitchen and dining rooms and into the living room. Next to a roaring fire in the fireplace, Sue had positioned our small round deck table and a couple of chairs. On the table were lit candles, flowers, and full place settings.

The hand prepared menu titles read: "Hearts Afire - A Bistro For Lovers Of All Ages" embossed over one of Sue's photographs of a heart shaped rock.

02/17/12: MNG: Movie Night At The Garrison Thriller Series: The Birds
Friday night 02/17 we had our next in MNG: Movie Night At The Garrison Thriller Series with pizza, good red wine (and a pitcher of killer Margaritas that Sue made up), and the original Alfred Hitchcock movie, The Birds. There were 6 of us until the movie started and then poor Mikaela got creeped out and Eleanne took her home; but she was pretty beat anyway. The rest of us weathered through things quite well, however, particularly because of the really decadent cake that the Nancarrow's brought.

02/20/12: Into The Valley of Forex
7:39am 02/20/12 Short 1 mini 10k lot EURUSD at 1.3257 and covered at 1.3261 for total loss of $4.10 but ended the trading session up $15.40.

02/24/12: Busy Weekend!
Friday 02/24, I had a chiropractor's appointment with Dr. Merritt in Durham (Dr. Shulde died unexpectedly a few months back) after work. After that, Sue and I headed into Portsmouth for dinner at The Common Man on State Street.

It was really cozy with the fireplace throwing a nice warmth throughout the room as we sipped our Rodney Strong Chardonnay. From there, it was an easy walk over to The Players Ring on Marcy Street to see "12 Angry Men". What a spectacular job the actors did! A lot of fun.

Saturday 02/25 I had started working on the computer in the library when the power went out. The wind was blowing, sometimes in 50mph gusts so I suspect a tree collapsed over the wires somewhere. We just packed up to do some shopping that we had intended to do Sunday and were walking out the door just as the power went back on! But we kept right on going.

We went over Rt. 101 down to Kittery, ME to the Kittery Trading Post to check out kayaks and roof racks for the brands that they had because Dover Marine hadn't got their shipments in as yet. We wanted to do some price comparison anyway. I think the wind over there was even worse when we came out to first stop into the Nike store before heading down to Greenland, NH to the Lowes there.

We almost didn't get all the stuff we bought at Lowes into the car! We had bought two really nice lounge chairs for the deck this summer, 4 sets of louvered shutters for both the living room and the library, and 4 new hall and stairway ceiling lights. On the way home, we stopped off at Hannafords to do our weekly food shopping.

After getting all of that put away, I poured out some wine and Sue and I played (battled through) 4 sets (12 games) of backgammon until grabbing some dinner out of stock in the refrigerator. The movie of the night was the 1977 The Turning Point.

Sunday 02/26 I was up at 7:15 and on the boards by 7:30 working my way through some new algorithms in my Forex pricing analysis program until taking a break around noon for lunch and to get the chicken for dinner marinating. While Sue worked on getting ready for an upcoming show she will be displaying her photography work at, I got some long needed reading done.

At 3:30 we headed out for Hamilton House historic home and grounds in South Berwick. Sue directed me in a new way off of 101 out of Dover so that she could show me some of the really beautiful areas out there. Lovely afternoon drive. She had wanted to hit the late afternoon light just right for some special photography she had been wanting to do, so we bundled up and marched all over the place. I had the important self anointed position of being the Site Selection Committee. This allowed me the luxury of simply wandering around shouting out to no one in particular, "Hey, this might be a good shot...." with no one taking any interest or action anyway. But nice to see how Sue set the shots up and the results.

We got back to the house around 4:45pm and while Sue set up the backgammon board, I poured out some wine. We played 3 sets with me ending 4 up for the weekend before we went into the kitchen and fixed up the meal of the night, a garlic, lime, and herb marinated chicken in a cilantro cream sauce over fettuccini noodles boiled in a parsley and touch of rosemary. Served as a side, we had oven baked thyme and black pepper roasted zucchini and mushrooms. Smooth.

03/01/12: First Snowshoeing Adventure In Huge Winter Storm
It started snowing lightly late Wednesday afternoon, but it really stated to come down overnight. We woke up to over five inches, and it was falling pretty good. Current Picture

I managed to get into work, but around 2:00pm I called Sue and said if she was up for it I'd leave the office and we could go over to Wagon Hill for my first showshoeing adventure.

It turns out, she was already over there hiking around and taking pictures!

She met me at the condo to get all of my gear, and then we went over for what turned out to be one of the best times I can remember having in a long time.

03/17/12: The Great 2012 St. Patricks Day Backgammon Tournament And Blarney Stone Irish Stew!
Saturday the 17th Sue and I held The Great 2012 St. Patricks Day Backgammon Tournament And Blarney Stone Irish Stew! It was Current Picture such a nice day that we had all the doors and windows open, even though in the woods behind us you could still see large patches of snow remaining.

Though we had started food prep early around 3:45pm, I was still in there tending to things all the way until 7:30 when we finally ate.

I was able to hop out of the kitchen every now and then, but I was constantly going back in to mess with something. Fortunately, Sue was able to get in some backgammon and chat with everyone.

And even though I had made a huge pot of stew and Sue had baked a large Irish soda bread, the 12 of us did a pretty good job of gobbling most of it down! And for desert, the Nancarrows brought a wonderful ice cream filled cake that everyone enjoyed as a pause after the first half hour of the movie of the night, Shaolin.

03/30/12: Friday Backgammon and Dinner Get Together
Friday night, 03/30, my friend and former student David Duquenne came over for delivered Chinese food and many games of backgammon with both Sue and I. It was nice to play David again; it's been awhile. And Sue really enjoyed it, even getting to practice her trash talk! She held up pretty good and we all had a good time.

03/31/12: Birthday Celebrations
Saturday 03/31 we all got together to celebrate Colin's upcoming 25 birthday before he and Ren headed out for Current Picture their Caribbean cruise vacation. Ren's birthday is also close so it was a joint celebration!

Colin had to work the morning and do some other things, and so he and Ren made it over just before 6:00pm.

We had a nice time chatting, had dinner, and, after returning to the living room to talk more, Sue served the special ginger infused take on a Creme Brulee recipe she had found.

04/01/12: April Fools Day Snow Sputter
After putting the dishes away from Saturday night's party, I spent most of Sunday morning in the library doing software development while Sue worked on getting ready for her art show and putting together most of the week's wardrobe selections so that she wouldn't have to try to figure it all out at 4:30am each morning. It's going to be a busy and very early morning routine for the next couple-few-many weeks for her work....

Around 1:00pm, we headed over to the Bellamy River Preserves for a walk through the woods. The ground was fairly firm, and so we hiked over to the river and back just to work off the meal from the night before and the frustrations of everything else. On the way back to the car, we felt just fine little splattering of sleet with just a hint of a few snowflakes.

When we got back to the condo, I spent about an hour watching some self defense and karate videos that I had ordered as comparative analysis. Sue finished up her stuff around 3:00pm, I poured us some wine, and we played a set (3 games) of backgammon.

But at 4:00pm we headed into the kitchen and stated dinner. While Sue worked on a feta cheese and tomatoe infused on-the-fly meatloaf, I got my on-the-fly white herb sauce for a side of egg noodles going. The only thing we did that was fairly straight forward was some parsley, black pepper, and sherry pickled beets that I concocted. Movie of the night was Happy Feet II, which was just okay; not anywhere near as good as the first one.

04/06/12: Friday Night Dinner Adventure
At karate class Thursday night, Brian mentioned a new Vietnamese restaurant in Dover, Saigon and Tokyo. I've never had Vietnamese food, so I asked Sue Friday if she'd like to give it a try. We are both so glad that we did. It's just a very, very small place with $8 - $10 entrees that not only stuffed us, but amazed us with how delicious the food was. We plan to go back again soon as there were so many interesting sounding dishes.

04/07/12: MNG: Movie Night At The Garrison Suspense Series: The Exorcist
Sue and I had everyone over Saturday night 04/07 for the next MNG: Movie Night At The Garrison Suspense Series: The Exorcist.

Now, I had set this up a couple of weeks ago and it Current Picture never dawned on me that this event was sandwiched in between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. The Exorcist. Terrific. Nice planning job, Peter. Gad.....

Regardless of that, the 8 of us had a good time playing backgammon before the pizza arrived. How can you not have a good time with pizza and beer and some rowdy backgammon? Well, you just can't!

04/08/12: Quiet Easter Sunday
I spent most of Easter Sunday morning programming some new features in my forex project and then most of the afternoon working on the new version of Sue's photography website.

But by 3:00pm it was time to start working on getting the ham going. I had planned on fixing Chef James Haller's version of ham from the former Blue Strawberry restaurant in Portsmouth. Though the ham prep is fairly straight forward, the cranberry, sherry, herbs, etc. sauce that would be poured over it to bake in the oven for the last half hour was a little more complicated.

While the ham baked, Sue and I poured a glass of wine and went into the living room and played through 3 sets of backgammon and damned if I'm not 2 down for the week so far! Not good.... Anyway, the meal was wonderful. We finished off the evening with the 1974 movie The Great Gatsby as Sue had never seen it and was excited to see how it compared with Fitzgerald's novel.

04/21/12: Sue Exhibits Her Photography Work
Saturday 04/21/12, Sue exhibited some of her photography work at The Eighth Chakra Spring Health Fair in Eliot, ME.

She had been prepping for this for several weeks, getting 9 selected prints enlarged and framed as well as smaller sized works and organizing her catalog of photo cards.

I surprised her with a gift of a hand carved wooden Susan Lyndes Photography sign that I had commissioned from Signs of The Times in Exeter, NH. It hung proudly on the lattice room divider framework that we used to display 6 of her photographs.

It was a busy week getting ready for this, and then up early Saturday morning to load the car, transport to the site, and do all the setup; this all being done painfully with Sue's torn rotator cuff aggravating her all the way.

04/28/12: Musketaquid Earth Day Parade in Concord, MA
Sue and I headed off at 8:15am Saturday morning 04/28/12 to Concord, MA for their Musketaquid Earth Day celebration. We stopped in at her friend Ellie Bemis home before heading over to the bridge where the water ceremony was to take place.

We walked back downtown and sat on a bench and Current Picture watched the parade go by before heading off to Authors Ridge at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery where most notable are the grave sites of Emerson and Thoreau, among others. From there, we headed off for a late lunch at The Cracker Barrel off of I495 on the way home.

And then, somewhere along I495, we decided that we'd take a side trip to Newburyport, MA and Plum Island.

It was late afternoon by the time we got home, so I poured us some wine and we played a couple sets of backgammon between taking a dinner break for pizza. And to top off the relaxing day, we watched the first two episodes of season 2 of Downton Abby before turning in for the night.

05/05/12: The Great 2012 Cinco De Mayo Backgammon Tournament And Get Ready For Summer Rice and Beans Fest!
I started working on the Santa Fe Rice and Beans meal that I was fixing for Saturday May 5th The Great 2012 Cinco De Mayo Backgammon Tournament And Get Ready For Summer Rice and Beans Fest! Sue Current Picture had to work all day but got home in time to fix a pitcher of Margarita's for the party.

We set up the backgammon board and got right into that and playing through a set before Tim arrived. He was followed shortly by Rick, and then the Nancarrows, who brought bread pudding and fruit for desert.

The movie of the night was the appropriate 1964 spaghetti western, Fist Full of Dollars.

05/11/12: Mother's Day Weekend
Friday night, 05/11, Sue and I drove down to North Hampton to look at some retail space. Sue is looking to possibly get a few other artists together and form a coop of some kind and this was a very interesting spot.

Since we were in the area, we decided to have an early dinner at Renaldo's Italian Restaurant just south of where we were. As usual, great food, nice red wine, and great conversation.

After dinner, Sue directed me to Bass Beach where we scavaged for decorative rocks. For what purpose, I don't know. But we got some real beauties!

Saturday Sue headed out in the early afternoon to photograph a prom over in Manchester, NH. One of my disciples and friend 3rd Degree Black Belt Sandan James Nancarrow came over at 5:30 bringing subs for dinner. After that, we sat in the living room for a couple of hours more discussing the work that he has been doing over the past year. Sue didn't get home until almost midnight. Whew!

Up and out the door early Sunday morning, Mother's Day, to head up to Ossipee, NH to meet her mother and her brother Alan and his wife for a Mother's Day Brunch at The Whittier house. What a crowd that was! But great fun. And afterward, we all headed over to Bear Camp Gardens where Sue used to work. We wandered around there for quite awhile and Sue found a great plant for the front porch area and a couple of plants for the deck and the garden in back of the condo. A good excursion!

05/12/12: Current Material Review for James Nancarrow
Since Sue had a prom photography assignment for the night, I got together with my disciple James Nancarrow for one of our current material review sessions. He brought subs for dinner, and we spent several hours working through the list of things he is currently working on.

05/18/12: Music Hall: An Evening with Dan Brown
Friday 05/11 Sue and I went to dinner in Portsmouth at The District and then walked the short distance to Portsmouth Music Hall to see author Dan Brown at their Artists On A New England Stage series.

05/19/12: Kittery Point Tour and Material Review for Brian Serven
Saturday morning I drove Sue out to Pepperrell Cove in Kittery Point, ME as she had never seen it. We got out and wandered around the docks so she could get a few pictures. From there, we drove north on the shore road into York, ME. Along the way, we bore off to Seapoint Beach and the lovely neighborhood's along Chauncey Creek. We stopped for lunch along York Beach's Long Sands Beach at the Sun n' Surf Restaurant.

Since Sue had another prom photography assignment for the night, I took the opportunity to get together with my student Brian Serven to see how he was coming on his requirements for black belt certification. He brought a vegan meal for us to share for dinner. We spent five hours going through his material and setting some near term goals to help him organize his training.

05/20/12: Agility Dog Trials, Greenland, NH
Sue had wanted to check out the Agility Dog Trials in Greenland, and so Sunday late morning we drove down. I met one of Sue's co-workers who was helping organizing the dogs, we grabbed some sandwiches at the lunch truck, and sat down by the pond to eat before heading back.

05/25/12: Into Memorial Day Weekend
Sue and I decided that to kick off the long Memorial Day Weekend that we'd start with dinner at South Berwick's Relish. We had never been there before, and though a relaxing start to our holiday, the ambiance and food that were touted as extraordinary were simply not up to the prices. The decor was quaint and the food marginally adequate at best. With a $38 or so bottle of okay red wine, the bill with tip was $140. For that, and another $40 we could put the dog out at Boston's Top of The Hub and have a worthy experience - and we have. Very disappointing....

On her way home from work earlier in the week, Sue had stopped off at Bemister's Pool & Patio in Hampton, NH to buy a kayak for me. So, Saturday morning we drove down to get it and do some other shopping stops on the way back. We spent the rest of the afternoon working some projects around the condo.

Sunday late morning we loaded up both our kayaks on top of my car and drove over to the boat launch by the Eliot Bridge crossing the Salmon Falls River.

Well, it was just on the other side of dead low tide, and there was about 50 feet of really deep mud to get through. Having done my share of mud flats treks, I was undeterred. So, off into the muck we go with me in the lead. The mud was really deep; up three fourths of my foreleg. So, I'm doing just fine dragging my kayak alongside of me when I decided to turn and see how Sue was doing.

Of course she was doing just fine. But as I turned parallel to the kayak to look back toward her, my heels began to quickly sink deeper into the mud. With the kayak not providing any compensating balance, I pitched backwards, falling flat on my back in the mud. Excellent.... Well, Sue was laughing so hard she couldn't get her camera out fast enough before I had scrambled through the muck and into deep water to rinse off. So, no. There is no recorded documentation of this event....

We had wanted to kayak up to Hamilton House and have the lunch we had brought with us. But the tide was beginning to head back in and the wind was blowing in the same direction so it would have been an easy trip up but a real struggle trying to come back against that. So, we spun around, came back under the bridge, and headed south down river. We did a leasurealy paddle along the shore line, stopping after about 45 minutes to have lunch along the shore. That went pretty quickly because the mud fleas and mosquitoes were more fierce than our desire to hang around.

We pushed off and continued down to where the Salmon Falls and Cochecho rivers split, turned around, paddled out into the middle of the river, and let the wind and current sort of help push us back to the pull out by the bridge. By the time we got back to the lanuch ramp, the tide had come in far enough so there was no mud to trek through. Good thing because I was in no mood for any more of that.

After showering off the mud, we sat out on the deck with a glass of wine and played backgammon until the Chinese food came. We were both pretty beat and so made an early night of it.

Monday, Memorial Day, we went food shopping early so that we could just hung out on the deck. Around 5:00pm, I popped a bottle of wine and started chopping vegitables for an off the cuff stir fry. All in all, a very relaxing holiday for us both. I could really get used to that....

06/02/12: Movie Road Trip: Snow White and The Huntsman
Our friends and we have been waiting for 3 movies to hit the screen this summer so that we could have road trips. Well, Snow White and The Huntsman was one of them, and so we all met at T.G.I Friday's in Newington, NH for dinner and then headed over to the show. It was all that we had hopped for. I'd see that one again anytime, I liked it that much.

06/08/12: Marissa's Birthday Dinner
Because Marissa would be busy Saturday, Sue and I had her and her husband Gary over Friday evening for her birthday dinner. She had requested that Current Picture I fix my version of former owner of Portsmouth's famous Blue Strawberry restaurant Chef James Haller's Rock Cornish Game Hens.

I got out of work early so I could start food prep because this is about a 2 hour start to finish operation and they were coming over at 6:30pm after work.

I had planned to eat around 7:00pm as I knew they would both have an early morning to get to work, so we had a little time before the hens were done just to hang out and chat for awhile. It was a nice evening to share with them.

06/09/12: The Great 2012 Eight Years At The Garrison Backgammon Tournament And Spaghetti Bolognese Celebration!
What a great day it turned out for tonight's 06/09/12 The Great 2012 Eight Years At The Garrison Backgammon Tournament And Spaghetti Bolognese Celebration! The party was terrific! Sue gave me her early birthday present: Current Picture a beautiful old wooden backgammon set. A perfect gift and I immediately set it out onto the coffee table in the living room.

Because I fix Spaghetti Bolognese for this party, I had to start food prep right at 4:00pm so we'd be able to eat around 7:00pm as it really has to simmer for awhile. Tim brought a couple of bottles of a nice Malbec, so we got that going.

While I finished up the sauce prep work, he and Sue battled it out over the board. Then she and I played while Tim took on Tony. After playing for awhile, Sue commented that we should be out on the deck as the weather was so nice. So off we went, followd soon after by Rick and then Jim and Chris.

06/14/12: Earth, Wind, and Fire, and Vacation to Newport, RI
What had originally been intended to be a simple Friday to Sunday vacation to Current Picture Newport, RI morphed into a wonderful Wednesday to Sunday Great Explore Vacation through Old Saybrook, CT, Groton, CT, Mystic, CT, and Newport, RI.

We first had decided to take an extra day and leave Thursday and stay over in Mystic, CT so that Sue could see her daugher, Jill, who lives close by in Westerly, RI.

And then Sue spotted a room and show package special from the Mohegan Sun resort that the great band, Earth, Wind, and Fire was playing there Thursday night! I mean, how much better could it be than Earth, Wind, and Fire! Okay, so we then decided to leave on Wednesday and make the great tour of that section of the coast up to Newport, staying over Wednesday in Groton, CT and Thursday at Mohegan Sun.

And that's how our trip went from leaving on Friday to leaving on Wednesday!

06/23/12: Movie Road Trip: Prometheus
Saturday night 06/23 Sue and I drove up to Scao, ME and met up with Rick, and Brad and his daughter at the Dunstan School Restaurant for dinner before joining up with Brian at the Saco Cinemagic to see the 3D - IMAX new movie Prometheus. Special effects were really good - how could they not be in a Ridley Scott movie. Just up my alley type movie, though it was a little slow getting to the real action and thrust of the movie. We all enjoyed it, but I'm not sure I'd watch it again.

All the drive up, the skies were darkening and really looking threatening. The radio was broadcasting severe rain fall and flash flooding all around. It just started to rain when we came out of the restaurant, and then before the movie started you could hear the thunder booming all through the theater. But by the time we got out, it had stopped. But it had been a really severe storm. In fact, Brian had said that driving up from Portsmouth, traffic had come to a standstill because of the intensity of the storm, and it took him 45 minutes to just get to York on I95

06/24/12: Sunday Kayak Explore at Bellamy Reservoir
Sue and I loaded up the kayaks at 9:30am Sunday morning, stopped off to grab subs at Subway, and put into the far north east section of the Bellamy Reservoir. Current Picture We paddled up into the long run of the branch that stretches north west until we were in the tall grasses in about a half a kayak width channel. We went as far as we could - a large tree across the river - and had our lunch.

It took about an hour to get back to our launch site. That was less than it took getting there as not only weren't we going into all the little coves to explore, but the wind was gently behind us. After driving home and storing the kayaks, we headed off to do food shopping. It was such a beautiful afternoon, that we just sat out on the deck sipping wine and playing backgammon until almost 7:00pm.

06/30/12: James Taylor At Manchester's Verizon Arena
After spending the day updating this site, Sue and I headed over to Manchester, NH at 4:00pm. I had made dinner reservations at a great little restaurant that we had been wanting to try, Cafe MoMo. Not to become a restaurant critic here, but not only was it a great experience to try Nepali cuisine, but it was some of the most interesting food I have ever tasted. A small, intimate, and traditionally decorated spot, Cafe MoMo should be on everyone's list to give it a try.

We left there about 6:45pm and drove over to the Verizon Arena on Elm Street to catch the 7:30pm concert by James Taylor. What a wonderful evening of music and nostalgia that was! An iconic figure in music history, Taylor captivated us with his ballads for almost 2 hours. I'd go see him anytime.

07/01/12: Sue's Family Cookout In Tamworth, NH
Sunday 07/01 we headed off to Tamworth, NH around noon to a family cookout. Sue's cousin Marion and husband John are up Current Picture from North Carolina and touring around. They are coming back here to spend the rest of week and then leave Friday.

Despite the continued hot weather, at least there was a nice breeze blowing that took some of the heaviness out of the air. We left there around 4:30pm and were fortunate not to hit any southbound Sunday tourist traffic, which can really slow Rt. 16 down.

After the big meal we had at the party, no one was very hungry. But, we did have carrot cake and ice cream part way through the movie Star Trek (2010).

07/03/12: Day Off Tuesday For Pre 4th of July Celebration
It was a bright sunny day Tuesday as we drove over to the local Subway to get sandwiches around 11:00am. I drove everyone down to Portsmouth, parked on State Street, and we walked down to Prescott Park gardens where we ate our lunch.

We made our way along the water's edge back to the car and drove over to Albacore Park, where the U.S.S. Albacore 569 was. After touring the sub, Current Picture we drove back up the Spaulding Turnpike, and hooked back over Rt 101 to R2 236 and then the short way down to the road that leads back to the Hamilton House. Unfortunately, they weren't giving house tours but we did have a really nice time walking through the gardens and looking out at the river views before heading for home.

But at 6:00pm we were back out the door. We were headed over to Captain and Patty's Restaurant on Pepperell Cove in Kittery Point, ME for dinner. We were back out on the town docks at dusk, about 8:30 and Sue caught some amazing pictures of the full moon rising over the trees to the northeast. We found a great spot and watched the Portsmouth firworks across the river.

07/04/12: 4th of July Extended Week
Wednesday July 4th, we woke to heavy overcast skies and a chilly drizzle. Marion and John took off around 9:30am to head north to visit various family and friends for the day. Sue and I just hung out until early afternoon and then took a nice long drive out 155 to 152 and down 156 to Pawtuckaway State Park. I had never been out along those roads or to Pawtuckaway, so it was a real explore for me.

We didn't get back until around 4:30pm. The sun was out and it was such a beautiful day that we grabbed some wine and the backgammon board and headed out onto the deck. We played backgammon until around 6:30, and then I fixed up a dinner of curried chicken over parsley and cumin basmatti rice and corn on the cobb steamed in parsley and basil. Mah-vo-louse.

Marion and John didn't get back until 8:30pm or so. The weather was still wonderful out, having cooled down just a little bit from the day. And so, Sue lit some candles and we all went out onto the deck and had a nice visit before heading off to bed.

Thursday morning I was off to work early and Sue, Marion, and John drove up to the Wolfboro, NH area to visit family. They didn't get back until around 7:00pm and were pretty exhausted. We ended off the night around 11:00pm out on the deck again. I was off again early Friday morning to work and Marion and John left to stay overnight with relatives in Frankln, NH as they had a 7:00am flight out of Manchester Airport Saturday morning.

I got home from work around 4:00pm Friday afternoon. Sue got some crackers and dip ready, I poured the wine and got the backgammon board, and out onto the deck we went until 6:30pm. We just did leftovers for dinner, watched the movie The Notebook, and went to bed around 10:00pm.

07/07/12: The Great 2012 4th of July Backgammon Tournament And Firecracker Hot Dogs Blast!
Saturday morning 07/07, Sue and I were up and out the door doing party food shoping for The Great 2012 4th of July Backgammon Tournament And Firecracker Hot Dogs Blast so we could get back home and take care of Current Picture some overdue tasks before folks started showing up.

I started getting the dogs ready around 4:40 thinking I'd do them in two phases: cutting everything up and then the actual cooking. However, once I started I realized I had to do 95% of the work first and then broil them in the oven for 10 minutes right before we ate.

While I was doing all of that, Sue finished up a terrific potatoe salad she had started earlier and got the fixin's together for tequila and mango margarittas. Excellent.

We ended off the evening with the movie of the night: Centurion (2010), which was pretty good.

07/08/12: Sunday Kayak Adventure
Sue and I gathered the forces together early Sunday morning, strapped the kayaks on top of my car, and headed off to the Bellamy Reservoir, off Rt. 9 just about 20 minutes north and west of us for a Sunday Kayak Adventure.

The interesting thing about this trip was that we put in at a Current Picture new location off of Hook Mill Road, which was a really neat place to launch. We headed south from the launch, exploring all of the shore and little coves along the west shore and then came back up along the east shore.

Though only out on the water about an hour and a half, it was really relaxing. We even spotted some interesting areas we'll beach and explore the next time we visit. After getting home and storing the kayaks, we did some deck time and then lots of backgammon.

07/13/12: July Summer Weekend
Friday 07/13 (and I had no idea it was a Friday the 13th; my family has a long history of us having births and events on Friday the 13th) Sue and I got together with my brown belt student Current Picture Eleanne and her husband Michael for dinner out at ffrost Sawyer Tavern at The Three Chimneys Inn in Durham, NH.

Sue wanted a picture of her meal as the presentation was so beautiful; the picture is from Eleanne's phone and, though fuzzy, will remind us of a wonderful dinner, lively conversation, and good times with friends.

Saturday was really just a catch up day on all sorts of stuff, though we did get outside on the deck for some long needed reading. We finished off with numerous games of backgammon, wine, and pizza.

Sunday morning we were up around 7:00am, jumped in the car, and stopped at McDonalds for coffee on the way down to Portsmouth's Four Tree Island to watch my disciple Nidan Rick Downs Early Bird karate class by the water (link to this below and here). He's been leading this class, sometimes just himself, for over 10 years now, I think. It's a traditional thing for us, going back to when I was a student 45 years ago. One of Nidan Scott Williams students, Peter MacDonald was there as well preparing for his upcoming 5th Degree Green Belt Exam on the 17th.

Anyway, it was nice to see them working out. But it was already very hot and humid. Sue had also wanted to come down to Prescott Park early before the crowds came so that she could take a couple of pictures of the tall ship, Pride of Baltimore.

After some shots of the ship from the bridge, we walked around the flower gardens before heading off shopping. First up was a stop at Lowes. Sue had seen a nice little outdoor fountain that she thought would look great out on the deck. That one was actually a little small, but another, a white cherub spilling water out of a big pot was just right.

Then a quick stop at Target next door to get me a new belt before heading over to Viel Farm in Rollinsford. We had hopped to get some fresh corn, but the sign said not until the end of July. So, we got the zuccini, squash, tomatoes, etc. that were parts of the scallop in a basil and garlic sauce that I was planning for dinner. On the way to Hannaford's to food shop, Sue dropped her car off at the garage for an oil change, and we were back home and on the deck relaxing by 1:30pm.

I poured some wine out around 4:30 and we started playing backgammon until about 6:30 when we had to go in and fix the dinner. Sue got the vegitables cut up and ready while I got the sauce mixed for both the scallops and the corn on the cobb (that we got at Hannafords). Movie of the night was Ides of March, which was really great: terrific writing and an unbelievable cast.

07/13/12: Prescott Park Karate
Sue wanted to take a picture of the tall ship that was visiting Portsmouth, so we got up early Sunday morning 07/08 to head down to Prescott Park. She had also wanted to take some pictures of my disciple Rick Downs karate class that he has Current Picture held every Sunday for years, regardless of the weather, on Four Tree Island.

It was a beautiful day, and Downs class was in full swing when we got there. One of my disciples, Scott Williams, students Peter was working out as he was preparing for his 5th degree Green Belt promotion exam in a week.

After getting some shots of them working out and then of the ship, we wandered around the park for awhile admiring the flower gardens before heading back home.

07/17/12: Karate Exam Board at Red Leaf Karate Club
After work on Tues 07/17 I headed over to North Berwick, ME to Nidan Williams Red Leaf Karate Club to sit on the testing board for Peter MacDonald, who I had mentiond in a previous post was taking his exams for 5th Degree Green Belt. Eleanne Solorzano and Nidan Rick Downs from my club also came to assist. It was a hot night, but Peter passed his test. We were all impressed with his effort and focus, rare at that level.

07/21/12: Excellent Road Trip Adventure
Saturday 07/21, Sue and I planned an ExcellentRoad Trip Adventure to America's Stonehenge in Salem, NH. From there, the six of us drove over to The Tuscan Kitchen for a great, though Current Picture what I thought was a little pricey, Italian dinner.

And then after stuffing ourselves with canolies, we headed up I95 to the IMAX theater in Hookset, NH to see the new 2012 Batman, The Dark Knight Rises movie. A long day, but just a lot of fun to share with everyone.

Sue and I took Tony with us in my car, and Rick had Linda and Tim with him. Rick had stopped off in Portsmouth to pick Tim up, and then they drove up to meet us at our place in time for us all to head out at 1:00pm. That put us at America's Stonehenge at 2:00pm and gave us an hour and a half to explore.

07/28/12: Karate Basic Relaxation Meditation Seminar Review
On Thursday night after class, I presented an hour Karate Basic Relaxation Meditation Seminar Review for Sue and Eleanne Solorzano. I had given the course to them several months before, and generally give this review 4 to 6 months after the main class. Several of my advanced students also attended as a teaching and thought process review at their levels.

08/10/12: Karate Certified First Degree Black Belt Exam Given
I took the day off Friday 08/10 to give a 3 day long Karate Certified First Degree Black Belt Exam to my student Brian Serven. We left my condo at 9:00am Friday morning and didn't get back until Sunday afternoon around 3:00pm.

It is a very long and very, very grueling exam with neither myself or the student testing getting much time other than the test; I've been known to wake someone up at 2:00am proposing another question. It's a lot of work.

We stayed at the Eagle Mountain House in Jackson, NH. We drove up via Rt. 153 out of Wakefield, NH, arriving in time for lunch in their tavern. But we were well into the thick of it by then.

Dinner Friday night was at the Eagle Mountain House and dinner Saturday night was at The 1785 Inn where the owner Charles, who I have known for some 30 years greeted us. Our server was Alan, Current Picture who we calculated has known and served me for at least 15 years. Charles had one of the waiters take this shot of us in the lounge. l to r: Charles Mallor, me, Alan, and Brian.

I had a wonderful time, though you'd have to ask Brian how it went as he was in the weeds pretty deeply at that point.

But his efforts during those tough times, as well as his hard work over the past 5 years, enabled him to achieve promotion to the rank of Shodan Certified 1st Degree Black Belt.

08/16/12: Vacation Trip to Visit Alan in Towson, MD
Sue and I drove over to Manchester airport on Thursday morning 08/16 to catch an 10:30am flight out to BWI for a 4 day visit with my brother Alan and his wife Abbie in Towson, MD. Alan met us at the airport and drove us up to Towson, Current Picture about a 35 minute drive.

The weather was so nice, we just hung out on the porch practicing a little Southern Porch Sitting.

Some time mid afternoon, we got down to the business of figuring out dinner menus for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

Abbie had quite a few of the ingredients and we determined that Alan had sufficient wine stock to make it through Thursday's meal.

And that was the start to a wonderful visit that included driving through the Loch Raven Reservoir, lunch at The Manor Tavern, touring 'horse country', visiting McFadden Art Glass, and cooking up some great meals together!

08/21/12: Sue To Michigan for Work
Sue and I got up at 2:30am Tuesday morning so that I could drive her down to Logan to catch a 6:00am flight out to Michigan her company was sending her on. I got into work at the amazing hour of 5:45am and worked 11 hours. I was pretty beat, I'll tell you that!

08/23/12: Late Night Drive to Logan
Sue's plane came in at 10:45pm Thursday night so I drove down right after karate class finished. We didn't get home until around 12:30am Friday morning, so it was tough getting moving off to work with little sleep.

08/31/12: Labor Day Weekend
Sue and I had not only a very busy Labor Day weekend but also interesting and lots of fun! Friday after work we went to dinner at 11 Water Street in Exeter, NH and walked around downtown Exeter afterwards. Current Picture Saturday, I caught up on some back reading out on the deck for most of the day until we started playing backgammon and sipping wine about 4 out on the deck.

Sunday, Sue wanted to get some projects done in the morning, and so I went out on the deck to read. About 4:00pm we grabbed glasses of wine and headed for the deck to play some backgammon until about 5:30pm.

Monday a little after noon, we met Colin and Ren at Roger's house. They had invited us out with them and their friends Matt and Becky to go out on Roger's 27' Eastern. We went down the Piscataqua River to Portsmouth, cut across into Sagamore Creek, and went up to BG's Boathouse for lunch. We tied up at the dock there, got deck seating, and had fish sandwiches with Bloody Marys. How much better could it get? Not much... We had decided to have a big meal then and just have salad for early dinner as Sue had to get up at 3am Tuesday morning for work.

09/07/12: Relaxing Weekend
Friday, Sue was up at 3:30am and out the door for work by 4:30am. I, on the other hand, slept in until about 7:45 before dragging myself out of bed, despite getting to bed very early Thursday evening. I was pretty tired out from getting up early almost every day but having a tough time sleeping due to muscle issues.

Thursday evening, 9 Black Belts from the area had gathered to watch me give my student Eleanne her 2nd degree brown belt exam. It's a big deal, and though running very low on sleep, I was glad that I had taken several opportunities during the day to grab quick meditation sets. That was the only reason I was functional, for sure! And Eleanne just did such an outstanding job that she received a double promotion to 1st degree brown belt. That's something that I've seen maybe 4 times in my career and only the 2nd time for one of my own students. Quite an accomplishment for Eleanne!

So, Friday night when I got home from work, Sue and I just went out on the deck with glasses of wine and played backgammon while the pizza cooked. We watched the past Wednesday's recorded 'Top Chef' episode and a recorded half hour HGTV House Hunters International, and then tumbled off to bed around 9:00pm.

We didn't get up Saturday morning until a little after 8:00am because we just wanted that cup of coffee! And that was about enough sleep to get us somewhat caught up. The morning project was to finish the re-decoration of the master bedroom that Sue had got us into a month ago. One of the final major touches was the re-positioning and hanging of the Native American rug that we had bought in Madrid, NM when we were out there in July of last year. The palette of that rug had set the tone for Sue's remake; she captured those wonderful southwest desert colors not only in the new shades and drapes, but also in the bedspread, new wrought iron bed head and foot boards, lamps, dressers, and finally her re-painting the walls a wonderfully warm sandy gold color. After some minor furniture re-alignment, the job was complete after I hung 2 of Sue's photographs that complimented the tonal theme of the room.

After that, we needed some exercise as the late summer humidity was oppressive. We jumped in the car and headed off for a walk along the river down at Wagon Hill Park in Durham, after making a brief stop for a small sandwich wrap at Burger King. We had a wonderful walk through the woods, stopping for almost a half hour for a chat on one of the rocky beaches along the trail. It was great out there as the wind was really whipping across the water, blowing off the sweaty and clammy feeling that we had from all the work in the heat back at the condo.

On the way back home, we stopped off at Hannafords to pick up some food items for the week, though Sue would be leaving on another business trip early Sunday afternoon, leaving just me needing stuff to eat for most of the week. We put the food away, took showers, and then while Sue did some packing for her trip I read for awhile until 5:30pm when we left for a dinner party at my disciple 2nd Degree Black Belt Scott Williams and his wife Linda's home in North Berwick. The sky was really clouded over with big dark threatening clouds bearing down on us from the west. It rained some on the drive over, but we were all able to sit out on the deck until dinner at the Williams'. The wind did pick up smartly, and it rained pretty hard for awhile; very reminiscent of the last time we were over there for dinner and got caught in a really bad storm. This wasn't so bad, but a storm none-the-less. Long night though as we didn't get to bed until after midnight.

I was up at 7:00am as Sears had called Saturday night on our drive over to the Williams to tell us they would be delivering our new stove and refrigerator sometime Sunday morning between 7:45am and 9:45am. They called at 8:30 and were 10 minutes out. So, Sue and I scrambled to empty the freezer and refrigeration content wherever we could find room, just finishing as the truck pulled up to the door. We traded out our 14 year old off-white appliances for sparkling new black ones. And they look just great. It was time to make the replacement as both units were struggling and had 'issues'....

After the delivery guys left, Sue sprang into action to finish packing for her trip. After grabbing a small lunch of leftover pizza, she was off. She was taking a longer, more scenic route to her ultimate destination of Burlington, VT so that she could perhaps grab some photography opportunity along the back roads. I wandered out onto the deck with my fleece jacket to keep the slight chill in the air from preventing me from getting some reading time in.

I had a small slice of ham that was left over from the previous week, so I sauted that up with some mushrooms and broccoli in a mumbo-jumbo-pot-luck sauce for dinner. I wound it down with a movie and then hit the bed hard.

09/10/12: How Quickly It All Changes....
Great. My work transferred the project I was assigned to another group, and I got 2 weeks check and a road map. Hit a couple of my recruiter contacts on my way home and started dialing for dollars yet again in my career.

09/15/12: Explore to The Butterfly Place, Westford, MA
Sue got home early Thursday 09/13 afternoon from work and wondered if I wanted to get off the dialing for dollars process and take a walk. Absolutely! And we had a really lovely hike through the woods and along the shore at Wagon Hill.

Friday morning, I got up at 5:00am so I could drive Sue down to work. I went back down later that afternoon and picked her up around 4:00pm so we wouldn't have to deal with 2 cars. We took a drive over to Salisbury Beach, came back and had an early dinner at The Sylvan Street Grill, and then headed just around the corner to the Cinemagic for the 7:10pm showing of Resident Evil, Retribution. Yeah, I know: how juvenile. But this is like the 5th in the series and you just can't miss these, actually really well done, zombie movies.

Saturday morning 09/15 we took a lovely hour and a half drive over to The Butterfly Place in Westford, MA. What a terrific experience that was! We wandered around there for over an hour and a half and probably could have stayed longer. Current Picture On the way home, we stopped at the nursery at the Stratham Circle so Sue could get some plants for a fall arrangement for the front steps.

We got back home around 4:15pm and didn't waste anytime pouring out glasses of Pinot Noir, setting up the backgammon board out on the deck, and pounding away at each other over the board until 6:30pm.

Sue had doubled me on the last game and I got gammoned! Yikes! I ended up heading into the kitchen to fix dinner down 5 points! Ugh!

Sunday morning we got up around 7:45am to a fairly chilly day, though by 10:00am or so it had warmed somewhat despite the briskness to the wind. It felt so 'fallish' that Sue got the pot and soil ready for the front steps. She had me soak the soil, and we'll let that sit for a day or so before she actually plants.

After lunch, we bundled up to the wind and went out onto the deck for some backgammon and chat before Sue had to leave at 2:30pm for an overnight work assignment up in Berlin, NH. I went food shopping, and fixed up a batch of chicken and artichoke hearts in a tomato-coconut sauce for dinner. Outstanding.

09/22/12: The Great 2012 Talk Like A Pirate Backgammon Tournament And Peg Leg Swill!
On 09/22/12 we held The Great 2012 Talk Like A Pirate Backgammon Tournament And Peg Leg Swill. The Peg Leg Swill took me from 4:00pm until 7 to fix and it was just super: basically chicken legs Current Picture (Sue's idea for the 'peg leg') first browned and then cooked in a cilantro, pepper, onion, carrot, garlic, and chicken stock and white wine sauce for an hour.

I wasn't actually working all that time, but it was pretty constant from 4:00 to 5:30 to get the chicken browned, everything cut up, and the two components of the sauce cooked and ready.

Then around 6:15 after playing some backgammon and chatting with everyone on the deck, I came in and put everything together and got that cooking; then just had to 'swill' it around every 10 minutes or so.... Wonderful!

09/28/12: Fall Foliage Vacation to Sugar Hill, NH
Sue and I left early Friday morning 09/28 for a fall foliage vacation to Sugar Hill, NH. We wound our way over a more scenic route taking almost 5 hours to our hotel, the historic Sunset Hill House.

The foliage was so pretty despite how overcast it was, sometimes even raining. It did break for just a few minutes and Sue got some interesting pictures at Current Picture Beaver Pond. We drove up through the Woodsville area and then stopped for lunch at the Happy Hour Restaurant across the Connecticut River in Wells River, VT, a place Sue was quite familiar with when she lived up in this area many years ago.

For dinner, we ate at The Horse and Hound Inn in Franconia, NH, just one of the most pleasant experiences we could possibly have had.

Saturday, we just drove for hours through the back roads enjoying the beauty around us. After taking a shower to get the day's road dust off us and getting changed, we went down to the hotel's guest living area, had a glass of wine, and played backgammon until it was time to go in and have dinner.

Sunday, we were up early so we could have a little more leisurely breakfast at the inn before heading out for our return drive home.

10/05/12: Columbus Day Weekend
Friday and Saturday we just really took it easy, taking long scenic drives Current Picture over back roads just to enjoy the foliage. Though not as developed as up in the mountains, it was still nice to drive around with no particular destination in mind.

Sunday Sunday 10/05/12 we went on another explore. We drove over 101 to Kittery Yankee Candle, 33 South for McDonalds and coffee, and 156 to Northwood, NH for a short stop at the Nancarrow's who were closing their quilt shop.

Monday we took another explore through the back roads. We went up to the Nubble Lighthouse in York, ME and then over Chase's Pond Road, stopping for awhile at Mt. Agamentacus in South Berwick.

On the way back home, we stopped off to do some food shopping so I could fix a marvelous dinner: basil pork chops in sherry and white wine stir fry of mushrooms, broccoli, red pepper, scallion, and garlic. Finished off the night with the movie Pollack with Ed Harris.

10/13/12: 2012 Martial Arts Disciple Retreat
I again hosted here at my condo my annual Disciple Retreat. Thursday evening, Carl Parker flew in from Albuquerque, NM and Russ Jones drove down from Laconia, NH as they were staying here for the weekend with me whereas the others would come in at 7:45am each morning and then head back Current Picture home at 10:00pm or 11:00pm - whenever we would wrap up for the day.

This year was a little different in the structure of the retreat as I had 4 external speakers come in to give presentations. This was to have a comparative basis of analysis of some of the things that we do with them and their pursuits.

In recognition of several of our advanced black belts, I made the following promotions: James Nancarrow, Yondan 4th Degree Black Belt, Carl Parker, Yondan 4th Degree Black Belt, Richard Downs, Sandan 3rd Degree Black Belt, and Scott Williams, Sandan 3rd Degree Black Belt.

10/19/12: Severe Strep Throat
I must have totally done myself in last weekend because all week I was feeling really bad. Friday afternoon the 19th Sue called me from work to see how I was doing. I wasn't doing well at all, so she left work and took me to a ready-care facility nearby where they determined I had almost a 103 degree fever and strep throat. Thankfully, Sue had taken me over there so I could get antibiotics into me. Though I began to feel better by Saturday night, it was just a miserable time. I couldn't stand laying around so she bundled me up and we took fall foliage drives both Saturday and Sunday. But the rest of the week was me moving in really slow motion, sleeping 12 to 14 hours a day and unable to do much more than move from the bed to the couch and back.

10/26/12: A Weekend With Hurricane Sandy
We were up Sunday morning at 8:00am. Though both of us still not fully up to par, we headed out to McDonalds for coffee and breakfast biskets, which we took down to Wallis Sands State Beach. It was pretty windy when we got there, and few were out. Current Picture We grabbed a bench and ate our sandwiches as the waves crashed around on the rocks below us. It wasn't a storm yet, but you could just feel things building. After finishing the sandwiches, we drove down to Odiorne Point State Park and walked along the shore, Sue stopping every so often to capture a picture of some of the spectacularly beautiful late fall leaf colors. We kicked through the leaves off the path and had a great time listening to the waves surging against the beach. We took the long way back home, coming over Rt. 111 through Greenland just to experience it all.

11/03/12: UNH Annual Walkabout and Woodsman Event
Sue's cousin Evan attends UNH and is on the woodsman team which was participating in their annual multi school woodsman competition.

We drove over to the location off of Rt 155A just outside of campus and parked in the grassy Sawmill parking lot. We were there about Current Picture 2.5 hours, and it was really pretty chilly, particularly with the wind whipping through the trees and across the field.

I had seen competitions like this on tv, so it was really interesting for me to see what goes on in person. We grabbed a hamburger and chips from the concession area just before Evan's event, and were able to get a great spot close to where Evan and his partner were.

11/08/12: Going Into Veteran's Day Weekend
After Thursday 11/08 night's karate class I held an hour and a half seminar for certified black belts to go over the new C&S Self Defense Association Core Rank Requirements document.

Friday morning, Sue was up at 5:00am and out the door for work. After work, she drove 3 hours to Westerly, RI to spend the weekend with her daughter, Jill. Friday night I had several of my advanced disciples over for a spaghetti dinner and then I gave a 2 hour seminar on how to test a student for the 3 day exam for certified 1st Degree Black Belt.

Saturday, what was supposed to be a simple oil change and snow tire switch turned into an over 3 hour ordeal. Colin had found that my oil pan had a striped thread and tried to resolve that. Unfortunately, that was unsuccessful and will require ordering a new part, which probably won't be in until after Monday's holiday. Oh, well.... I spent the rest of the day working on my Forex analyis program, and then did some reading in the late afternoon. After dinner, I watched the Comcast OnDemand movie, Deep Water - a not too badly done documentary of the first single hand around the world sailing race in 1969.

After getting up around 8:30am Sunday morning, I worked through some of the new Forex program algorithms I have been testing. Since Sue wouldn't be home until late after noon, I went out and did the food shopping so that I'd have everything set by the time she got home. I was fixing a curried chicken, cauliflower, and carrots so wanted to get the cauliflower and carrots cut up ahead of time.

She got home around 4:30pm, and after getting things put away and caught up on email, we grabbed some wine and battled it out over the backgammon board for 3 sets (9 games). After dinner, we watched the 2007 movie Lucky You.

Monday, Veteran's Day, I worked on my Forex project during the morning, and then Sue and I went for a long walk at the Great Bay Wildlife Refuge, this time taking the longer trail. Now, I've done longer than 2 mile walks since having my hip replaced two and a half years ago, but it's been broken up in segments. But this hike was non stop, and let me tell you: 2 miles straight is all I care to do.

We got home and had some down time before opening a bottle of Zinfandel that my disciple Russ Jones had brought for us last Friday. Sue and I played 4 sets of backgammon, had some leftovers for dinner, and then ended off the evening with the movie, Act of Valor, a very good representation of what our Seal teams go through; a great movie for Veteran's Day.

11/16/12: Weekend Movie Night Out and Shaolin Warriors
Friday, Sue and I just hung out sipping wine, playing backgammon, and then finished off the evening with the 2011 movie Dream House with Daniel Craig.

Saturday, I worked on my Forex project until about 2:00pm when we drove over to the artist's open house at Salmon Falls Mills in Rollinsford, NH. From there we drove into Portsmouth so Sue could look for some things for a photography shoot she had Sunday morning. We grabbed dinner at the Ninety Nine Restaurant in Portsmouth and then drove to the cinimas in Newington, NH to see the 2012 movie Sky Fall, the new James Bond movie with Daniel Craig (his 3rd appearance). Good movie!

Sunday, while Sue went out for her photography shoot, I continued with my Forex programming until we left about 2:00pm to go to The Music Hall in Portsmouth for the 3:00pm performance of the Shaolin Warriors. I had seen them back in the late 1970s down at Madison Square Garden in New York City, and this was every bit as exciting as then. We were back home by 6:00pm, played some backgammon with dinner and then watched the 2010 movie Conviction.

11/22/12: Thanksgiving
Sue and I were up at 7:00am to get the turkey going for our Thanksgiving celebration. I used the way Chef James Haller at the famous Blue Strawberry restaurant in Portsmouth taught me many, many years ago. Current Picture Gary wasn't able to come but Marissa arrived around 9:15am and we had a nice chat with her. Colin and his girl friend Lauren arrived shortly after.

Unfortunately, Ren wasn't feeling good and Colin had to actually take her into the emergency room Friday morning. Sue was working but I drove over to the hospital and sat with Colin until Ren was released. So, their Thanksgiving was pretty trashed. But we were fortunate that she and Colin and Marissa were able to spend a few hours with us Thursday.

12/01/12: Snowy Drive To Nancarrow Dinner Celebration
We had a snowy drive up to Northwood, NH to the Nancarrow's home Saturday evening. Chris had us and some of the other folks close to Jim to celebrate his promotion to 4th Degree Black Belt at this year's annual Disciple Retreat.

It had started snowing early morning with just some light flurries. Current Picture But by around noon, there was a light accumulated coating on the ground. While I working on my forex programming project, Sue baked some banana bread and then went out to run some errands and take a power walk over at Kingman Farm in Durham.

I was still a little run to the ground from this cold I have been fighting so took a short nap before getting ready to go up to the Nancarrow's. Once I was up, all was well. Rick, Linda, and Tim and Cindy House arrived around 5:40pm and we were off.

We had a great time chatting and sharing some snacks before sitting down to a wonderful meal of cheese and shrimp tortellini with beans. The movie of the night was Snow White and The Huntsman, Current Picture which we all enjoyed. And we turned in for bed around 11:30 and had a great night's sleep.

Sunday I slept until about 8am, worked on my forex project resolving some of the code I had been changing for the last couple of days. Sue and I went down to Newington, NH to see if she could find a coat at Sears. No luck on that, so we headed back up to Dover and went food shopping at Hannafords, Sue stumbling into both Colin and Ren while searching for a pack of cheese tortellini for a Italian sausage, ground beef, and mushroom casserole she was making for Monday.

For Sunday dinner, I fixed a small ham with a James Haller inspired cranberry and a whole bunch of stuff meal. Rather than the movie of the night, we watched an episode from the 1978 tv series Centennial, which I had bought recently.

12/03/12: Trip To White Mountains National Forest
Monday morning 12/03, Sue and I headed up to the New Hampshire White Mountain National Forest to get a Christmas tree. For a $5.00 fee paid at the ranger station (on the right just as you turn onto the Kancamagus Highway from Rt. 16), Current Picture you can go into designated areas of the forest and cut your own Christmas tree.

The ranger had told us that we would need to be at least past Bear Notch Road in order to get above 1200 feet elevation.

We tromped through the woods until we came to just the right tree. Sue started the cut, and then I finished it off; a really nice small tree. I carried it back to the car, and we were off on the return trip home; about two hours with a short stop at Ocean State Job Lot in Ossipee for some odds and ends.

After playing a couple of sets of backgammon we had a crock pot meal for dinner that Sue had put on low that morning. And did another episode of Centennial.

12/07/12: Friday Excursion to Portland, ME
Sue and I headed out Friday morning around 11:30am for Portland, ME. I had scheduled a job interview at 1pm so that we could then go to the Portland Museum of Art to see the Winslow Homer exhibit, wander the Old Port area, and maybe get dinner somewhere we hadn't been.

The Winslow Homer exhibit was just spectacular. It was a very large display of his works, and we must have spent almost 2 hours viewing them and some of the other works before walking over to Oak Street. On the walk to the museum from where we parked, we had spotted the Ethiopian restaurant, Asmara and it had looked so interesting that we had decided to eat there.

It's just a small place, very simply decorated with African theme art. But the folks who run it are so friendly and accommodating, particularly when we showed interest in their background and asked questions about the food that it just made the experience complete.

And the food was terrific! Very different flavors than we had ever experienced, including the homemade honey wine we ordered. The meals were served on a bed of the traditional injera, which is a semi heavy a slightly sour (to our taste) flatbread. It looks sort of like very thin waffle-ized pizza dough, and has a slightly spongy texture.

The menu explained that it was made out of teff flour, a unique grain from the area. You wrap your food in the injera like you would a Mexican burrito. The injera is not as firm as a burrito, and because you eat with your fingers, it's a real challenge to get it into your mouth before the whole thing disintegrates. But even if it all falls apart, it's a lot of fun pushing it all together and scooping it up.

12/08/12: Dinner With Tim House
My disciple, 4th Degree Black Belt Yondan Tim House, invited Sue and I over for dinner Saturday night. He was all fired up about fixing a dish and then Cindy had other obligations so he invited us to a little mini party.

12/10/12: Colin Over For Lunch
Monday the 10th Colin had the day off and so he came by for a nice visit. Sue fixed soup and grilled cheese sandwiches while we looked at some stuff on the computer. After eating, we transferred into the living room while Sue went out to run some errands.

It was a great visit, though he forgot to bring a new headlight bulb to install in my car. I shot up to where he works on Tuesday, and he fixed me all up. On the way, I popped into Portland Glass as I had notices a small crack glinting in the sun a week or so before. Yup, have to have that fixed at some point. Great....

12/14/12: Meditation Seminar in Exeter, NH
Friday evening, Sue and I went to a meditation seminar held by Dr. Robert Butera (E-RYT, M.Div., PhD., is the founder of the YogaLife Institute, publisher of Yoga Living magazine and a board member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists).

Dr. Butera is my martial arts student Brian Serven's yoga instructor. Dr. Butera and I have chatted a couple of times on the phone and through email. I put his book on meditation, that he used as a guide during the class (which was held at Blue Moon Yoga in Exeter NH), onto my required core reading lists for my advanced karate students. So I certainly didn't want to miss this lecture!

12/15/12: Busy Saturday
Saturday morning, Sue drove to the House's in Portsmouth to take their Christmas family portraits. And Saturday evening, Sue made up an appitizer plate and we headed off to the Williams annual Christmas party in North Berwick, ME.

12/20/12: Road Trip Explore Along the Coast to Kennebunkport, ME
Sue and I left here about 2:15pm Thursday afternoon and didn't get back until 6:30pm. We first drove the back way to York, ME (4, 236, and 91) Current Picture to the York Hospital so I could get a vaccination at the immunization clinic. After that, we just couldn't believe how large the waves were from yesterday's storm, so we drove out to Nubble Light House so Sue could get a couple of pictures.

From there, we drove Shore Road all the way along the coast into Wells where we stopped at one of the stores Sue wanted to check out. There were many places along the way where we could see the surf, and it was spectacular.

We drove up into Kennebunkport, parked in the square, and walked around for awhile looking at all of the stores. We were surprised that at 4pm, few were open; don't get in this holiday season.

We came back to Dover via Rt. 9 to Rt. 4; quite a loop for the day!

12/21/12: Friday Dinner and Movie With the Nancarrows
Friday afternoon, Sue and I drove to the Nancarrows home in Northwood, NH. We jumped into their car and drove to the Cinemagic theater in Hookset to lock in our movie tickets for the 7:00pm showing of Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away 3D. From there, we drove south on rt. 93 to go to dinner at Cafe MoMo, which Sue has been dying to get back to after our first great experience there in June.

12/22/12: Weekend Before Christmas
Saturday, Sue and I decided to get the food shopping for Christmas week out of the way before all craziness sets in. We headed out just after lunch to first get outside and take a long walk. We drove down to Odiorne Point State Park and walked along the beach. Though the tide was out, the surf was very powerful, still raging from the past storm. The air was brisk, with a very stinging bite to the wind.

We took a long loop back through the neighborhoods to see the Christmas decorations. Not too many displays and even then without snow, something just lacked in the atmosphere of it all with the sun blinding us at times. We ended up at Hannafords food store down the street from us, got the shopping done - except for the scallops which I was going to fix Sunday night.

After putting the food away, I poured out some wine and we went into the living room to play backgammon and put on the old 1977 made for tv movie The Gathering - a tradition for me for the last 30 years or so. We had a simple spaghetti dinner and then watched the 2010 English subtitled movie North Face. Now, I usually don't watch subtitled movies, but this was well worth the effort; very compelling drama - and a true story. Just captivating.

And Sunday was basically just a hang-out day, though I did have to scoot out in the morning to pick up scallops. We played way too much backgammon to end up break-even, but it was great fun. Dinner only took us about an hour to put together: marvelous seared scallops covered with a sauce of deli mustard, mild, sherry, fennel seeds, chives, and other ingredients - all over a bed of basil basmatti rice with a side of herb steamed asparagus.

12/24/12: Monday Christmas Eve
Monday morning of Christmas Eve day Sue had a checkup appointment at Wentworth Douglas Hospital. On the way back home, we stopped for a sandwich and grabbed coffees to go. Just after we got back home, Sue's good friend Gale and her granddaughter Alanna stopped by for a few minutes. After they left, I worked on some minor coding changes to my forex trading application while Sue did her magic crafting a great lasagna dinner for us.

I lit a fire around 3:00pm, opened a bottle of merlot, and Sue and I settled into the living room to chat while we played several sets of backgammon. The movie of the night was the classic It's a Wonderful Life, and was the perfect cap to the Christmas Holiday season.

12/25/12: Tuesday Christmas Day
We woke up Tuesday Christmas Day morning to a light dusting of snow that had fallen during the night. It was so pretty as we drove over to Marissa and Gary's at 8:15am. Current Picture They were hosting us, Colin, and Gary's folks for Christmas breakfast. It was great seeing everyone and spending a few hours with them until everyone had to head off to other obligations.

Sue and I came back home around noon and decided that it was just so pretty out that we just had to go for a short walk in the woods over at Kingman Farm in Durham, NH.

I lit a fire after we got back, poured out some white wine, and Sue and I enjoyed playing some backgammon and watching the snow fall before we went in and fixed dinner. We ended up the evening with the really nice 1999 movie Notting Hill.

12/27/12: Snowshoeing in Big Snow Storm
It started snowing very late Wednesday night and kept it up all night and all day Thursday. I was jacked out of a sound sleep at 4:30am by the snow blowers the snow contractors were using to clear off the walkways. Current Picture When we got up at 7:30am, the wind was howling and we had blizzard conditions. Sue and I went out to clear off what must have been 4 inches of heavy snow off my car, anticipating that the plow truck would be coming to clear the area.

Well, it never did and by 2:00pm when Sue and I decided to head over to Kingman Farm to go snowshoeing through the woods, the car was buried under at least another 4 to 5 inches. The drive over was slippery at best, and I got stuck twice in the lot where we park to go into the woods. But what a beautiful hike we had! The scenery was just magnificant!

12/28/12: Dinner and Movie Les Miserables
Sue and I met up late Friday afternoon with Tim and Cindy House at the Olive Garden in Newington. We had a nice meal there before heading over to the 7:00pm showing of the new 2012 movie Les Misérables. And if you haven't seen it, then you should as it's just a really well done movie. And just try to keep the tears back when Anne Hathaway sings her version of I Dreamed a Dream; you can't....

12/29/12: Visit to Ossipee in Huge Snowstorm
We woke up Saturday morning to a raging storm that had already dropped several inches of snow. We shoveled off the car and did all of the shopping for New Years week so that we wouldn't have to go out Sunday.

At 2:00pm we headed north on the Spaulding Turnpike to pick Sue's mom up in Tamworth, NH for a surprise 80th birthday party for her in Ossipee, NH. The roads were slick, and the snow was blowing pretty hard all the way up. We just took it slow, stopping briefly for gas in Wakefield.

The party was a lot of fun; it had been since summer when Sue's cousin Marion and husband John visited in July that I had last seen everyone. While the party went on inside, the snow continued to fall all evening.

There were a couple of points along the drive home where there were almost white out blizzard conditions, though the roads had been plowed so at Current Picture least the snow depth on them was minimal. It took a little over a third longer time to get home, though we really enjoyed the beauty of it all. A little Jim Beam and ginger ale while watching an episode of the 1978 tv series Centennial was just what we needed to wind down after that drive.

When we got up Sunday morning, the last of the storm was just passing and the sun began to poke through the clouds. We probably got another 8 inches of snow over the two days - it's piled up everywhere!

12/31/12: Quiet New Year's Eve
Sue and I worked together to fix my mom's Beef Stroganoff. While that cooked, we sipped a nice merlot and played a bunch of backgammon. After dinner, we just relaxed and watched the 2009 movie A Time To Kill until 11:30. We ended the evening around 12:30am after watching Ryan Seacrest and the Times Square ball dropping at midnight - the first New Year's Eve without Dick Clark was really different....

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