2014 Rose Family Archives...
      For current events, go to the Rose family website page.

01/01/14: Happy New Year!
After not getting to bed until almost 1:00am New Year's Eve, we slept in to 8:00am. Sue fixed egg-in-a-hole and sausage for breakfast, and we had our first coffee of the new year. Though bitterly cold - and expected to get worse through the week - Sue headed out for a short power walk while I caught up on some back emails.

We left home at 2:00pm to do some quick shopping at Sears before heading over to the Newington cine complex to catch the 3:00pm showing of the new Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio movie, The Wolf of Wall Street.

I really liked it. From all that I had read, I had expected many almost graphic porno type scenes. I don't feel this was the case, though it was very, very raw, I don't think the movie would have really told the full story, or had the impact that it did, without those scenes. Without the rawness of it, it could very easily have turned out to be a very dull and washed out version. But Scorsese just doesn't do it that way - Goodfellows and now this. Yeah, I get it. Now, having said all that, I do think the movie was too long, and some of those long drawn out sex scenes could have probably been more short and 'suggestive', as many critics seem to feel. I'd like to watch it again, but I just don't think I've got the patience to go 3 hours....

After the movie got out around 7:15pm, we wandered over to Barnes and Noble to browse for some information that we were looking for. We did find one book that seemed to address our needs, and we went through it while having a glass of wine and burger at The 99 restaurant back up in Dover.

01/01/14: New Business Started
I had originally planned to start a life mentoring consulting business after I retired from the software engineering field. But a layoff in late 2012 caused by the awful economic collapse and recession gave me time to not only focus on my real estate, but it also provided time to think about starting LiveNow sooner.

The more I thought about it, the more excited I became about the possibilities of starting to help folks so much sooner. Everyone I mentioned my thoughts to encouraged me to just do it.

And so on New Year's Day January 1, 2014 I obtained a domain name, got my web site hosted, and LiveNow Adult Life Mentoring was a reality. By the following week I had designs for business cards, applied for a formal business name, and started letting folks know that I had officially started offering my services to those outside of my advanced martial arts students. And so, I had a 'new' business that I had been doing for 45 years open to the public.

01/04/14: Sue's Family Over Saturday For Pizza After Basketball Game
Saturday late afternoon 01/04/14, Sue and I drove over to the Oyster River High School in Durham, NH. We met up with Sue's sister-in-law, Joann, and her daughter Tracy, Tracy's husband Jeff, and their daughter Katie - all from the Tamworth and Ossipee New Hampshire area. They were all there to see their other daughter Morgan play basketball, and had invited us to join them to cheer Morgan along.

We left right after the game ended so we could get a head start to do some shopping. We asked everyone to come over to our place for pizza before heading back home. I lit a fire in the fireplace, and we all had a great time just chatting.

After everyone left, Sue and I watched a recorded episode of Justified and then went to bed.

01/05/14: Sunday Snowshoeing at Bellamy River Wildlife Sanctuary
The air has been so cold that the recent snow storm left about a foot of light, fluffy snow that Sue just couldn't resist. Current Picture

We got all our snowshoeing gear on Sunday afternoon 01/05/14 around 1:30pm and headed over to the Bellamy River Wildlife Sanctuary for an hour or so.

But, of course, by 5:30pm we were sipping wine and battling it out over the backgammon board.

I'm chagrined to admit that she got me down 7 points and I just couldn't recover. In fact, it got worse Sunday night....

01/11/14: The Great 2014 Four Year Memorial Hip Replacement Backgammon Tournament And New Year Celebration!
On Saturday Jan 11 Sue and I held The Great 2014 Four Year Memorial Hip Replacement Backgammon Tournament And New Year Celebration. It had been so deeply foggy all day, that we were concerned that the evening's dropping temperatures would ice up the roads too badly for folks Current Picture to come over.

Though slow going for a few, it was manageable, but everyone had to be careful for sure!

I seasoned a bunch of thick chicken legs in virgin olive oil, thyme, chili powder, red pepper, basil, and garlic powder, and baked them in a 525 degree oven for about 30 minutes until the skins got crispy.

I splashed them with red wine, sealed them in aluminum foil, and baked them at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.

Along with the legs, I baked garlic, chive, pepper, cilantro, and basil seasoned mashed potatoes that Sue made. After dinner, we watched the pretty good 2013 action movie, Elysium

01/12/14: Windy and Cold Sunday Walk at Adams Point
Sue and I headed out mid afternoon on Sunday 01/11/14 to Adams Point. She figured that because of the recent quick snow melt that the trails there might be clear. When we left, the sky was clear, the sun was out, and there was just a light breeze.

We should have dressed for the dead of Arctic because by the time we got out to Adams Point, the wind was blowing so hard the tops of the trees were swaying back and forth like drunken sailors. Oh, and this made it really, really cold.

Needless to say, we made a short walk of it down along the shore before heading for home, getting a fire going in the fireplace, and settling into a glass of wine and some backgammon before ending off the evening with the wonderful 2012 Morgan Freeman movie Magic of Belle Isle.

01/18/14: Hiking Through a Snow Storm
Friday the 17th, After Sue got home from work, I lit a fire in the fireplace, and we just relaxed with some wine, Current Picture backgammon, and a pizza. I had taped the second new American Idol show, so we watched that before heading off to bed as we were both really tired.

Saturday 01/18/14 Sue and I drove over to the local Hannaford's supermarket to do the shopping for dinner (Sue did baked haddock and I fixed herb green beans in a sherry reduction) and the week. It had started snowing during the night and was really coming down as we drove over to the store. Though beautiful, the roads were really slippery, so it was slow going.

After putting the groceries away, we put our wind pants on and headed back out into the storm. We slid (very carefully!) in the car over to Kingman Farm in Durham and hiked about 2 miles through the woods and fields. Current Picture This was right at the height of the storm with the snow coming down so hard at times that Sue couldn't even take a picture as there was nothing for the lens to focus on!

We probably should have brought our snowshoes as there was about 4 inches of fluffy, but heavy snow on the ground. It wasn't really tough going, but you did have to be really careful of the ice underneath the snow. Neither of us went down, though there were quite a few 'close ones'.

Sue took a hot bath when we got back home as we were both pretty chilled. I lit another fire in the fireplace, and we played some backgammon until we went into the kitchen about 5:30pm to fix dinner. I'm usually not a big fish fan, but Sue's baked haddock was great, and the chardonnay that we had with it just made it a lovely meal with the fire crackling in the background. We topped off the night with the 2013 movie, The Butler, watching the last of the snow fall through the deck light.

01/25/14: 8 Hour Scenic Drive
On Saturday morning 01/25/14, Sue and I headed out for a long, scenic drive up around New Hampshire's Lake Winnipesaukee. We left at 9:30am and didn't get home until almost 6:00pm. It was a great mini vacation for us, just spending the day together enjoying our beautiful state.

Though very cold out, something like 13 degrees, we just bundled up really well when we got out of the car to walk around. While in the Moultonboro area, and again over in Bristol, we hit some beautiful soft snow squalls.

After leaving home at 9:30am, we stopped for gas and coffee at the Irving station in Wakefield. From there, we took Stoneham Road off of Rt. 16 in Sanbornville, following that until picking up Cotton Valley Road, College Road, and then Rt. 28 down into Wolfeboro.

Sue is really familiar with the Wolfeboro area, and so after driving around to see all of the surrounding areas, we parked in the public lot down at the old train station on Depot Street and walked all over town. We stopped in a few shops that Sue hadn't been to in years, and then had lunch at Lydia's on Main Street.

We left Wolfeboro on Rt 109a, sort of the back way up and around, through Tuftonboro to Melvin Village. That's a cute little area, and Sue has some distant founding relatives in the past. We spent some time wandering some of the side roads in Moultonboro as Sue hadn't been back in some of those areas for a long, long time. We picked up Rt. 25 south in Moultonboro, and took that through Center Harbor and into Meredith.

From Meredith we were going to head down Rt. 3 along the lake to Alton to head home. But as we were taking one of the back streets through Meredith, I noticed a sign to Bristol, NH. It had been something like 35 years since I had been over there. When I asked Sue how far it was, she said, that though it was a way off, the drive was pretty, I just swung the car onto Rt. 104 West and off we went!

Through a lovely snow shower, we took Rt. 3 south to Rt. 132, and picked up Rt. 4 in Concord, NH. I sort of don't care for Rt. 4 much because it's so busy, so I got off onto Rt. 9 east in Northwood. As soon as we got home, Sue put on some spaghetti while I fixed a fire in the fireplace. We played a few sets of backgammon and then watched the really nice 2012 movie, Chasing Mavericks.

02/01/14: Breakfast with Mary Liz and Dinner with The Houses
During the past week, Sue has driven down to and back from Westerly, RI (three and a half hours each way) to see her daughter Jill. Jill's dear dog, Sidrah who has been Jill's companion for over 12 years, had been very sick and the vet said the end was near. Sue came back the first time as it appeared the situation was in control, but just as she walked in the door, Jill called and said that the vet wanted to take x-rays the next day. That didn't sound good at all, and so Sue turned around the next afternoon and headed back.

She had really wanted to meet Mary Liz, my nephew Scott's wife who was up taking her son Austin around to various colleges in the Boston area and staying with her sister Lori who had just moved to Eliot, ME. So, Saturday morning 02/01, I picked Mary Liz up in Eliot, and we went to The Roundabout at the Portsmouth, NH traffic circle. They have the best breakfasts - and their dinners are super as well. Nothing fancy, just really good food.

The last time I had seen Mary Liz was at the BWI airport when Colin was under a year old. I'll never forget that as he took an enormous dump in his pants and stunk the whole airport concourse up and Mary Liz was more that gracious in helping clean him up. Anyway, after catching up on old times, we chatted about my new life mentoring business LiveNow Adult Life Mentoring. Mary Liz is a counselor and therapist with practices in Frederick, MD and Washington, DC specializing in anxiety, depression, stress, and trauma using Somatic Experience therapy. Her site is http://marylizaustin.com

02/05/14: Major Snow Storm Blankets the Area
We woke up this morning, Wed. 02/05/14,to about 4 inches of blowing snow. As the morning progressed, so did the storm, with the snow ultimately Current Picture mounting up to over 8 inches.

I let a fire in the fireplace, and we played a few sets of backgammon with a glass of wine until dinner.

02/07/14: Off On Another New Hampshire Driving Adventure
Friday morning 02/07/14, Sue and I headed out over Rt. 4 to explore the town of Concord and surrounding areas. I had never really been to Concord much, maybe 3 times, and never just to explore but rather a couple of job interviews or one or two times for dinner.

Sue was very familiar with the area, and directed me not only around the main parts of Concord itself, but also in the immediate areas just west of the city, some of which were very nice.

From Concord, we headed out Rt. 9 to Hopkinton, and headed north on Rt. 103 into Warner, NH. Warner is a beautiful little village just off of the main turnpike, 89. It's only 20 minutes to Concord, but it's like being way out in the country. What a beautiful town and area.

We drove many of the back roads around Warner, ending up at the areas main plaza at the junction of Routes 103 and 89. I even went into the Warner Police Department and had a wonderful chat with one of the officers about the area. If you ever want to know the straight scoop about an area, talk to a cop.

From Warner, we continued west on 103 through Sutton and into Bradford, NH, another very scenic small town. In Bradford, we picked up 114 south, taking that into Henniker, NH, yet another very quaint New England village. Henniker is home to New England College where Marissa got degree from. All along 114 from Bradford to Henniker, though very remote, is just a beautiful drive.

In Henniker, we decided to get back onto 9 and 202 east toward Concord, and head for home. However, as we went through Hopkinton again and passed Rt. 13, Sue said she'd really like to sweep down and see the Dunbarton, NH area again. When we got down to Goffstown, NH, we picked up 114 east again and took that until it ran into Rt. 101 east, just south of Manchester, NH. 101 feeds into 293, up a ways on 93 north, and then splits off east toward Exeter and Hampton.

We stayed on 101 until we got into Epping, NH, and then headed north on 125 into Durham. Then, it's just 15 minutes from the Epsom traffic circle out Rt. 4 east to 108 north, and home! We got home about 6:00pm, poured some wine, and played several sets of backgammon until fixing a pizza for dinner. We ended up the night watching an episode of Top Chef, one of the final three remaining. We have to catch up here; these are the finals!

02/09/14: Sunday Dinner Party For Us!
I was busy all day Saturday 02/08/14 until evening working on a contract I had been hired to do. That gave Sue time to vist with her friend Jen who is just opening a new small business here in Dover, Rx Massage Therapy. When she got home at 4:30pm, we took off and did food shopping so we wouldn't get tied up with that on Sunday. We had some great leftovers for dinner, and then tried two different movies that we stopped after about 15 minutes; one I hated, and the other was putting Sue to sleep. We settled on a recorded episode of Justified, and then a couple House Hunters International before heading for bed.

So, that all set the stage for a basic repeat of activity on Sunday 02/09/14. I again spent the better part of the day working on the contract while Sue met up with Jen again, this time for a walk and then some work on her new office space.

I stopped working on the contract assignment about 3:00pm to start the dinner preparation as it had to simmer for several hours. What a marvelous time I had making this one, Trinidad Chicken Curry. As I'm sitting here typing this, the smells of jalpaneo, garlic, cumin, onion, coriander, cilantro, and fresh ground ginger in a sauce of coconut milk, sherry, tomato paste, and a splash of red wine. Whew! I can't wait!

Not only was it good; it was terrific! We finished off the bottle of local cheap red wine and watched the great 2013 movie Last Vegas with Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline, and Robert DeNiro. One of the best, most entertaining movies I've seen. Great stuff!

02/14/14: Low Key Friday Evening for Valentines
Friday was Valentines Day but Sue and I were both so fragmented and beat from a hectic week of just being consumed with 'stuff', culminating in a massive overload of work Friday, that we just fixed one of those Dinner For Two meals. We did, however, have a rather good 2011 Argentinean Catena Cabernet Sauvignon that Sue had picked out.

Sue had checked out of the library the movie 'My House in Umbria' and we watched that. The acting is just superb, but it is really, really slow moving. It was really just too slow for both of us and by the time it was over, so were we. We tumbled into bed and just called it a day. Next!

02/15/14: Saturday Night Snowshoeing in a Nor'easter
Saturday night 02/15/14 Sue and I led a hearty group of friends Snowshoeing in a Nor'easter at Kingman Farm, Durham, NH.

Although almost a dozen folks had initially signed up, only 3 of us met for dinner at Newicks on the water in Newington, NH, and 5 of us ended up snowshoeing. Current Picture A Nor'easter with 30mph winds had just dumped almost a foot of snow on us Thursday, and the prediction at the time was for light snow over the weekend. Everyone was pumped up until the reports of another major Nor'easter became more certain.

It had started to snow lightly by late morning Saturday, and grew slowly over the course of the day. Sue and I popped out to the supermarket mid afternoon, and by then the snow was coming down pretty good and the roads were slippery. I had sent an email out earlier to the folks who had said that they were still coming. Current Picture

The drive from our place to Newicks is usually relatively short, about 8 minutes. But the snow was coming down so hard and the roads were petty miserable that it took over 20 minutes, even going the Spaulding Turnpike.

It was just beautiful snowshoeing down the narrow trail through the quiet of the woods, snow pelting down all around us so thick at times that the tree line across the field was sometimes just a shadow in the pale light of the obscured almost full moon.

Getting the cars out of the parking lot was challenging at best. Brian got his van out fairly easily, but Tony got stuck backing around. We had to push him forward so that he could make a backward run and set up to turn onto the highway. But when he gunned to get through the piled up snow, his car broadsided across 155 and face planted up to its hood in the snow embankment on the other side.

02/17/14: President's Day Drive up to Wolfeboro
Monday 02/20/14 Sue and I left the house here at 8:00am and went up to see our friends John Perrow and Rick Dolce to tour the Wolfeboro, NH area. It was biterly cold, and in some places the snow was up to our knees.

We had a wonderful lunch at The Wolfeboro Inn and Tavern, drove around for hours, and then headed for home late afternoon. We had planned to leave earlier, not wanting to take a chance on any southbound holiday traffic. We didn't find that to be the case, though, and it only took us an hour to get home, arriving around 5:30pm.

Because of the huge snow storm on Saturday and Sunday it was so beautiful out that I poured out some wine, lit a fire, and we just sat back and watched a movie until calling it a day.

03/05/14: Wednesday Snow Day
Well, it wasn't a storm, or anything like that. It had been so cold for days and days that the inch of snow today was really a pretty event. I lit a fire in the fireplace late that afternoon, and Sue and I enjoyed having a glass of wine, playing some backgammon, and listening to some music as the last of the snow fluttered down. We watched the probably not so good 2010 movie Stone with Robert De Niro, Edward Norton and Milla Jovovich. It was too depressing and a little graphic for me, but Edward Norton's performance should not be missed. It was stunning, and worth watching the movie again just for that. De Niro was great, as always. But Norton was stunning in his performance. And we all love Milla, but, to me and Rick Downs, she's always going to be Milla from the Resident Evil series.....

03/06/14: Road Trip Just For the Heck of It
Sue had to run out to Epsom to pick up a CD player for her studio, so I went along for the ride. Since we were out that way, we tood a long drive out through Chichester, Pittsfield, Nottingham, and back home through Northwood, though we came in over Rt. 9. Sort of all over the place, but it was a nice day and we just decided to hit the road and enjoy it all.

03/07/14: Movie Night at the Garrison: Thor: The Dark World
After karate class last week, Sue and I were chatting with Steve Shackford about movies. He mentioned that he had just bought the new 2013 Thor: The Dark World. That was all I needed to hear to set up the next MNG!

I have always had Movie Night at the Garrison on Friday evenings, and so held this one Friday the 7th. I had told everyone that doors would be open at 5:30pm but, knowing it was a work night, said that I'd make sure the pizza didn't arrive before 7:00pm with the movie not starting until 8:00pm.

Sue couldn't stand it, and whisked us into the living room at 5:00pm to get the backgammon going. I don't know how many sets we played. It must have been at least 4 - which would be 12 games - before Steve showed up at about 6:00pm with some spare beer in case I ran out. He even brought a lime, because: how can you drink Corona without a slice of lime down the neck? Well, you just can't.

It wasn't long before Brian, and then Eleanne and her daughter Michaela arrived. And then just after the pizza came at 5:50pm, Rick showed up. Good thing because the pizza was going fast. The boxes hardly hit the table before I was all over it, that's for sure! When pizza is involved, it's a serious thing....

I got the movie going just before 8:00pm and everyone seemed to enjoy it, though they all were far more knowledgable about the Marvel super-hero genera series than either Sue or I were so that was all new for us. I had initially proclaimed the movie to be a 3-beer event, but only did 2 and enjoyed the whole thing. But it was the 3 slices of pizza that did me in, I think. Once I got to sleep, that was it. I never came to until 7:25am Saturday morning.

03/08/14: Saturday Night Dinner Out
When Sue got home late Saturday afternoon from taking her current class at UNH in Adolescent and Child Coaching, we decided that we'd go out for dinner to celebrate our 1 year engagement. It was a little early, so we had a half glass of wine and played a couple of sets of backgammon (3 games per set).

We enjoy The Riverworks in Newmarket, and so arrived there around 6:00pm. We had a very nice, relaxing time and enjoyed a lovely bottle of Spanish Rioja. When we got home, I lit a fire in the fireplace, and we watched the really enjoyable 2010 movie, Leap Year.

03/10/14: Wonderful Movie
We had the 2011 movie Soul Surfer from NetFlix sitting on the table for over a week. Just never got to it. We had watched The Endless Summer recently, and so were in no big hurry for another surfing movie. Mistake.

Monday night we figured we should give it a try. We're so glad that we did! It's a true story of incredible courage monitored in its making by the family involved. The acting is terrific, and the cinematography is un-f'n-believable! It's a really nice story, well told and acted. A good, all around entertaining movie.

03/14/14: Impromptu Friday Movie Night At the Garrison For Two
Sue and I had gone out to do the shopping for the backgammon dinner party tomorrow night, and she saw that the Red Box kiosk had the new 2013 movie, Nebraska. She grabbed that, as well as a pizza, and we were all set!

I lit a fire in the fireplace, and we sipped some wine and played backgammon for awhile before putting the pizza in the oven. We even played through dinner, the games were so intense.

We both really enjoyed that movie; just a really entertaining eveing. Bruce Durn was amazing in the role. It's no wonder that he was nominated for this year's Best Actor Oscar. But the 85 year old actress, June Squibb, who was nominated for best supporting actress as Durn's wife, was just a scream.

03/15/14: The Great 2014 St Patricks Day Backgammon Tournament And Sorta Irish Pot Pie Try!
[*** Pictures Coming ***] We held the 84th backgammon dinner party since I moved into the Garrison in 2004, The Great 2014 St Patricks Day Backgammon Tournament And Sorta Irish Pot Pie Try! Since it was a St. Patrick's Day party, I had to cook something Irish for dinner.

Sue had found an interesting sounding recipe for chicken pot pie and suggested substituting corn beef for the chicken. Really? Yup. I mucked with the recipe directions and came up with what I called Sorta Irish Pot Pie Try! It came out pretty good, actually....

Sue left late morning to meet up for a light lunch with Eleanne and her daughter Michaela. From there, she took them around the Hampton and Rye areas so they could see and photograph one of the few remaining Snowy Owls. It was rare that they came this far south at all. Sue had wanted to get Michaela out to see one before they left. They did spot one, way up on the roof of a house, so the trip was a success.

At 3:30pm, I started what I thought would be a fairly quick food prep process. That never works out! It was just before 5:00pm when Sue came back that I was just finishing up. It had taken me a long time to figure out just how things would go together. I got the corn beef, onion, potato, red pepper, mushrooms, carrots, and all that ready to go. All that was left would be to actually cook the vegetables, mix in the base sauce and corn beef, and then throw it into a 400 degree oven for half hour or so.

Steve showed up around 5:30 and we got right into the backgammon, and the Killians Irish Red - a wonderful thing. Steve had bought a new backgammon board, so I had told him to be sure to bring it and we'd break it in for him. Which we did, of course. When Tim arrived, he and Sue battled it out across the board for a few games until it was time for me to get the food cooking. Rick arrived just in time for the big reveal and to eat. Just a few of us here, but we all had fun and enjoyed the movie of the night, The Commitments.

03/16/14: Quiet Sunday
Sue left around noon to drive to Westerly, RI to have a couple of day visit with her daughter. Before she left, we went up to Fiddlehead Farms and bought a bunch of vegetables for her to take down to Jill, got gas in her car, and did a tire pressure check. Though chilly and windy, the sun is out and no storms are forecast. Should be a nice drive down.

I spent the day working on a computer business application I designed and have been messing with for awhile now. The following pictures are of the start of the 10 unit condo development project next door.

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03/20/14: First Day of Spring? Really?
Woke up this morning 03/20/14 to a little over an inch Current Picture of slush that had come down overnight. Not too far north of here, however, there were many areas that got a foot of snow.

On the First Day of Spring! A foot of snow? Yup.

The picture here is out the door here in Dover, NH about 8:00am this morning. Pretty gloomy for the entrance of Spring....

03/23/14: Sunday Dinner Party for Two!
Sue and I went for a long drive Sunday 03/23/14 out into the Barrington area, stopped off to get the movie in Epping, and then food shopping in Durham.

When we got back home and got the groceries put away, Sue and I worked on getting tonight's dinner ready. I was fixing green beans sauteed in sherry, shallots, garlic, thyme, and Basil, along with some red wine and other things that... well, I just can't remember because I was creating! But the real creation of the night was Sue's Mexican inspired Chorizo and herb seasoned meatloaf. Holy crap, was that good!

While dinner was baking in the oven, I let a fire and we played a few sets of backgammon. I was down 4 points yesterday, and I just couldn't get it done tonight as I remained at 4 points down. Maybe it was the red wine? Nawwwwww.... That's supposed to inspire you! But, still didn't get it done and another down day score for me. But tomorrow.....

The movie of the night was the fairly entertaining 2013 Inside Llewyn Davis. After having cherry pie for desert and finishing the movie around 10:30, we were beat and just tumbled into bed.

04/05/14: The Great 2014 April Fools Day Backgammon Tournament And Fools Stew Dinner Party!
On Saturday 04/05/14 Sue and I held The Great 2014 April Fools Day Backgammon Tournament And Fools Stew Dinner Party! Sue baked some great 'Chai-spiced Shortbread Cookies' and I did a Fools South Indian Vegetable Curry served over a bed of Current Picture long grain brown rice cooked in boiling tarragon infused distilled water.

We had a nice side track, as Tim and Cindy brought Austin over for the first time for a short visit. He just marched in, plopped down in front of the 52 Inches of LCD Joy, figured out the controls, and put a movie in. He was all set while I chopped and Sue and I visited with Tim and Cindy.

Tim had brought his Blu-ray copy of the 2013 movie Gravity as the movie of the night. We got that started just after 8:00pm, despite all of the cooking delays.

04/06/14: Birthday Dinner for Colin and Ren
Sue and I had Colin and Ren over for dinner Sunday night 04/06/14 to not only celebrate Colin's upcoming birthday, but also this week for Ren.

I had asked Colin what he'd like me to fix for his Current Picture birthday dinner. His immediate reply was Rock Cornish Game Hens the way I learned to fix them from world famous chef and author from Portsmouth, NHs former Blue Strawberry restaurant, James Haller.

Along with it, Sue had suggested I fix a side of my locally famous (that would be within the confines of the condo) herb and sherry sauteed carrots. And she fixed a wonderfully lightly flavored orange cheese cake for desert that we had with the movie of the night, the 1985 Oliver Stone Wall Street.

Of note for anyone who reads this and has a relatively inexpensive Blu-ray player: we were going to watch the second one, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, but it refused to play. It didn't even load. I could not figure this out because Current Picture we had just run the new 2013 Blu-ray Gravity the night before and that loaded and ran fine. But not this one.

But after Colin and Ren left, I tried it again just to see. It still didn't run, but then Sue remarked that she remembered seeing the on screen DVD menu highlighting something like, 'Erase Rear Flash Drive'. I hadn't thought anything of this, but then it made sense to erase this flash drive.

I remember awhile ago running into the issue of some newer Blu-ray disks not loading. I did some research at the time and discovered that inexpensive Blu-ray players had very little memory in them, and to play some of the newer Blu-ray disks you needed to plug a flash drive into the back of the player to provide memory swap space. As soon as I did that, those newer Blu-ray disks played.

What Sue figured out was that maybe the reason the DVD player menu was asking if I wanted to delete the content of the flash drive was that it was full. Duh! Of course. And as soon as I deleted the stuff on the flash drive, the disk loaded! A miracle! And can I have a big AMEN! for that! Gad. Duh.....

04/11/14: Colin and Ren Back For Another Try At Movie
Colin headed over after work, getting here just before Ren arrived with pizza! We had invited them back over to take another try at watching the movie, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps that wouldn't play last week.

I really thought I had it working as it had come up when I checked it out that I thought it would load. Well, it didn't load. I tried everything, but no luck. At least the pizza was good! We watched Gravity as they hadn't seen it. Tim had forgotten to pick it up when he was over Thursday evening, so we lucked out there by having it in this crisis.

04/12/14: Launch of Web Site for Riverside Software Development
After years of doing analysis, design and coding on pieces of a diverse group of small business productivity applications on the side, I decided I would form a company. None of the business applications are more than about 70% complete, though 2 of my FOREX foreign currency trading applications are actually in live use.

However, I felt the body of work a good base to attract potential clients for my services. So, I spent the last week working part time on building a web site for Riverside Software Development.

04/13/14: Relaxing Sunday Dinner and Movie
A beautiful day, though just a hint of bite in the breeze when we went food shopping late morning after picking up a nice kitchen roller cabinet at a yard sale for Sue's daughter.

I fixed what turned out to be a wonderful lemon chicken stir fry with scallions, soy sauce, some spices, and a splash of wine along with a side of asparagus that I also stir fried with yellow onion, garlic, thyme, and ground black pepper.

When Sue and I were shopping, I had spotted a very inexpensive bottle of Cupcake Vineyard Red Velvet wine and wondered, "Just how good could a $7 bottle of red wine be?" Well, it was pretty darn good, actually! Though touted as "aromas of chocolate, red fruit and black pepper," it wasn't too sweet or fruity. And it went really good with the meal.

Movie of the night was the interesting, though at times confusing, 2013 American Hustle. But it was far 'lighter' than the movie we watched Saturday night, The Counselor. That was a very graphic and dark, troubling drama.

But then, that's Ridley Scott for you.... and written by Cormac McCarthy, author of the truly great (it won McCarthy a Pulitzer Prize) but equally depressing book, The Road. I started to read the book, but it was during a difficult period for me, and I just didn't need the extra gloom in my life at the time, despite it being some of the best writing I had ever seen.

But I did watch the movie version. All I can say is that both were just spectacularly haunting, as this line from the opening of the book clearly demonstrates: "The nights were blinding cold and casket black and the long reach of the morning had a terrible silence to it." Look, it just doesn't get any better than that....

04/18/14: Off to Belfast, ME!
Sue and I decided to do an overnight trip up to Belfast, ME. We had passed through there on our 02/03/12: Photography Adventure To Mt. Desert Island, ME and Current Picture have wanted to go back and explore.

So, to celebrate our 4th anniversary first date, off we went early Friday morning!

We left around 9:00am in search of coffee, which we found at a store along Rt. 4 on the way out of Dover. The drive took about 3 hours as we stopped a couple of times along the way.

We walked around Belfast for awhile before grabbing lunch at the Dockside Family Restaurant on Main Street, overlooking the harbor. Though the temperature was up in the 50s, there was that chill in the air that comes from the brisk breezes blowing off of Penobscot Bay.

After dropping our things in the room, we drove up to Searsport, ME, and to a lighthouse up in Stockton Springs, ME. When we got back to the room, we played backgammon for awhile, and then changed up for dinner at the hotel's Oceans Edge, which was really exceptional.

After breakfast Saturday morning, we jumped in the car and headed south on Route 1 for a leisurely drive down the coast, arriving back home around 3:30pm.

04/22/14: Dinner With Marissa
Our schedules finally both cleared and I was able to get up to Marissa's in Rochester for a long chat and subs for dinner.

Gary was out back getting another dozen or so of his lobster traps ready for use. He'd already put out something like 130 traps, and told me he was hoping to get 300 or 400 out this year with a goal of 600 this year or next.

That's a lot of traps to drop and haul, particularly with his full time work as a marine engine and boat technician with his family's business, Dover Marine.

04/24/14: Breakfast in Rye
Sue had placed some of her photography at the Serenity Cafe in Rye the other day and had seen that Tai-Chi practitioner Marsha Carr would be giving a demonstration Thursday April 24th.

We got there early to have breakfast. Marsha came in and sat with us, and we had a nice chat for almost an hour.

On the way home, Sue had me stop at Pear Tree Gifts on Central Ave in Dover. Besides just checking the store out, the store agreed to host some of her photography! It's a cute little shop with all sorts of interesting things which will give Sue's unique work great exposure.

04/26/14: Martial Arts Seminars
On both Saturday 04/26/14 morning and afternoon, I hosted two 2 hour long martial arts seminars with an hour break for Chinese food that I had ordered the day before and was delivered.

It was a long day for those that stayed for both seminars, but hopefully they benefited.

05/01/14: Karate Exams
[*** Pictures Coming ***] Steve Shackford took and passed his 4th Degree Purple Belt test Thursday 05/01, and immediately started looking forward to 3rd Brown Belt exams. He's all cranked up.

Sue came down and took some pictures so he'd have a record of it, though low lit basement shots are artistically challenging for sure!

Steve did an excellent job, and passed just fine. Of course, we just had to go out and celebrate!

After class, we all headed up to Applebee's at the Dover circle for some food, drink, and conversation. Steve decided that he was going all in and had a steak! But that was one very well deserved steak.

05/03/14: The Great 2014 Spring Into Spring Backgammon Tournament And Green Veggie Dinner Party!
[*** Pictures Coming ***] On Saturday evening 05/03/14, Sue and I held The Great 2014 Spring Into Spring Backgammon Tournament And Green Veggie Dinner Party! to celebrate 'Spring Hath Sprung'! Though the weather prediction had been for rain, it turned out to be a relatively sunny slide into the evening hours.

We know, it's supposed to be a Cinco de Mayo party..., but this time we decided that we were just going to have a good old American fest! Since I was fixing oven baked spring vegetables over herb seasoned brown rice, I had to get on with food prep early. I started a little after 4:00pm and was just finishing up a few minutes after Steve Shackford arrived a little after 5:00pm. It was sort of important that Steve showed up early as he was bringing the beer!

Shortly after that, Tim arrived, and then Tony and Kathy. Everyone was into backgammon as I was winding up my work, though there was little trash-talk going on. Sue was showing Kathy how to play, but spared her lessons in trash talking. About that time Rick Downs arrived, and he got into a couple of games with Steve.

As soon as Tony saw me put down the chopping knife, he was all over me to play. Though he capped me 2 points the first game, I went on and won the next two games, sending Tony back to the books for study. He's quite a chess player, and so is learning this backgammon stuff pretty fast. I've got to make him whimper as much as possible now while I can, because, once he figures it all out, it'll be a battle to keep up with him. Of course, that's when the games get really interesting and fun.

The movie of the night was a Rick Downs suggestion, the 2013 directorial debut of Keanu Reeves, Man of Tai Chi. It was, for the most part, one of the better martial arts films I've seen. Midway through the movie, Sue brought out her special Sprung Into Spring Dirt Cup desert - vanilla pudding with crushed Oreo cookies, gummy worms, and pansie petals. Quite a hit! She made enough that we enjoyed them for several days after!

05/05/14: Spaulding Plays Lacrosse at Dover
Sue and I drove over to Dover High School Lacrosse field to watch Spaulding play Dover. Marissa is the Assistant Coach for Spaulding, and this is the first time her team has played close enough for us to come and watch.

Spaulding doesn't have enough players, so the one team played Dover's varsity team first (which we didn't see, and they lost), and then they played their JV team at 5:30, winning that game.

Though the temperature was in the mid to high 50s, the breeze was stiff and very chilly sitting on the metal bleachers. But fun to watch the game, particularly as Sue had never seen Lacrosse.

05/16/14: Watching Softball In The Rain
Friday, Sue and I went over to St. Thomas Aquinas High School here in Dover to watch Sue's great niece Morgan, the catcher for her Kennett High School team, play softball. When we got there, it had just started to spit small droplets, but by the second inning it became a pretty steady chilling drizzle.

We were so soaked and cold by the time we got home that we had to take hot showers and turn the heat up! A little wine, some soft music, and backgammon with pizza solved all issues.

05/17/14: Sue Takes All Day Course
Saturday, Sue took another course through the University of New Hampshire for her certification as a Child and Teen Life Coach. It was an all day event taught by our friend Dr. Anita Remig who lives here at the Garrison close to us.

While Sue was out, I buried myself in the book on foreign currency price action and trading theory I'm writing. It's more for my own trading purposes than something I'd publish. I can't stand the marketing aspect of things. as I comment on pmRose.com - an author's web site.

By the time Sue got home, I had just finished a section of the book which brought me to over 100 pages; a good stopping point. Over dinner later, we had a nice chat about a lot of the topics that she learned about from the course, dealing with issues of dysfunctional families. Some really interesting material. I'll try to wrestle the course book from her when she's done underlining everything!

Though the courses that Sue is taking is geared toward children and teens, the topics themselves are of great interest to me in my work in my company LiveNow Adult Life Mentoring.

05/18/14: Dog Agility Trials In Greenland, NH
Sue and I drove over to Greenland, NH late Sunday morning as one of her former co-worker Mike had his dog entered in the NEAT Dog Agility Trials. Though we had missed his first two runs and would miss his afternoon runs, we had a nice chat with him and enjoyed watching some of the dogs run through the different courses.

On the way home, we stopped off and did our food shopping so that would be out of the way. But by late afternoon, Sue and I were at the backgammon board, sipping wine, enjoying some music, and just relaxing.

05/22/14: Sue's First Day on the Job
Sue started her new job Thursday 05/22 through Work Opportunities, a local social services agency, as a job and life counselor for adults with barriers that might hold them back from finding employment. She couldn't have designed a more fulfilling job. In fact, it's exactly what she's wanted to do for years. And it dove-tails perfectly with her current coursework through UNH for her certification as a Child and Teen Life Coach.

05/22/14: On Exam Board in Gilford, NH
Thursday evening 05/22 I sat on a 3rd Degree Brown belt exam board for one of my disciple Master Russ Jones' junior students. 5 of us carpooled up to Gilford, NH for the 7pm to 9pm exam.

Jake did really well, and despite his size, held his own against attackers twice his weight and height in the outside self defense parts of the exam. Before heading back home, we were treated to some great pizza and soda- I've never met a pizza I didn't like....

05/24/14: Sue's New Job Dinner Out and Movie
Sue and I met up with my disciple 3rd Degree Black Belt Rick Downs at the Newington, NH Olive Garden for an early dinner. This was part of the celebration for Sue's new job, and we had a really good meal. We came back to the house, and while Sue took care of some odds and ends that she needed to do, Rick and I played a set of backgammon. Sue finished what she was doing just Rick and I were finishing up the final game, and so she and Rick played a game before we ran the movie of the night, the 2002 Tom Clancy thriller, Sum of All Fears.

05/25/14: Aubrey and Justin Graduations
This is a proud day for my brother Alan being able to celebrate with his granddaughter Aubrey, and grandson Justin.

Aubrey just graduated from American U., in Washington DC, Current Picture majoring in Law and Society, with a focus on death penalty advocacy, graduating Summa.

Justin graduated from St. John's Catholic Prep in Frederick and is headed to Georgetown U. in the fall; interested in immigration law, with an eye to law school.

A couple of really amazing young adults. As I sheepishly mentioned, "Their accomplishments are truly stunning. Makes me feel quite the dope. Amazing. I'm done. Just gonna go sit out on the curb and watch the cars drive by. Not even gonna feed the pigeons...."

05/25/14: Rockin' Sunday Night Dinner!
For our Sunday dinner, I wanted to do something a little different to celebrate Sue's new job. I did a mango and ginger spiced pork and grated sweet potato in an orange juice, cumin, scallion, and sherry sauce over a bed of quinoa with thyme, a splash of white wine, pinch of black pepper, and a couple of handfuls of frozen green peas. Our movie of the night was the 2013 Sylvester Stallone, and Arnold Schwarzenegger Escape Plan. Not exactly a calm Sunday night movie, but the one we had chosen, can't even remember the name, was so stupid and lame we shut it off after 5 minutes.

05/26/14: Memorial Day Kayaking
[*** Pictures Coming ***] It had been cool and rainy for the last couple of days, and started out sort of crummy Monday, Memorial Day, as well. The weather sites were calling for up to 80 degrees and clear for the afternoon, though threat of later showers, and so Sue and I stacked the kayaks on top of my car and headed off to the Bellamy. Reservoir at noon for a couple hours on the water.

This is the third year that we've kayaked on Memorial Day weekend, and so I guess this is becoming an annual thing for us! Though at a couple of points it did sprinkle a little, all in all it was just cloudy and breezy.

The highlight of the trip, however, was me flipping over in the kayak. Sue almost pee'd herself trying to get the camera out before I quit spitting water and recovering floating crap that had fallen out. I had reacted way too fast when the kayak leaned over as I was pushing off from the shore where Sue was taking some pictures. I'm quick anyway from 45 years in martial arts, and grew up sailing small Penguin class sloops on Lake Michigan where if you didn't react fast, you were in the cold chop. So, I just reacted. Can't do that in a kayak. Thanks for the embarrassing pictures....

That's the second time I've gone into the water kayaking. The first time was 05/25/12: Into Memorial Day Weekend where I back splatted into the mud. Great.

When we got home, I took a long hot shower before setting up the backgammon board and pouring out some wine. Dinner was left over spaghetti with corn we had bought at the store the other day. Unfortunately, the corn was rather starchy, but the wine was great! Movie of the night was the totally enjoyable, 2007 Martian Child. If you haven't seen it, it's just a really nice movie. And that's it for Memorial Day weekend!

05/31/14: Colin and Ren For Pizza and Movie
Saturday night, Colin and Ren once again carried in pizza for us all. We had invited them over to once Current Picture again try to watch Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps. This would be the third try.

But I know what happened those last 2 times: it seems at this particular time, if you are using a stand alone Blu-ray DVD made by Sony that you can't have the external flash drive plugged in the back for memory swap space when you're trying to play some DVDs from Fox Entertainment.

Colin and I had a couple of Sam Summer Ales, and Sue made some kind of rum drink for her and Ren. But, really... beer and pizza. How much better could it get? It just can't....

Here's a couple of shots I took before Colin and Ren got here of the new condo project construction behind us that's been going on since about Feb.

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Coming along pretty good now that the weather has broken. As can be seen, they're just beginning to get the roof joists in place. We'll be glad when it's over. Noise, dust, guys wandering around all day.... Yeah, will be nice when it's done.

06/06/14: Sue Completes Certification
Sue left early Friday morning to take her last all day class over at UNH. She's now a Certified Child and Teen Life Coach! I'm only certified to make trouble, so this is a really big day for her. I'm very proud of the hard work she put into this to achieve something that has been an interest of hers for years. Now all she has to do is get me a little more copy so I can post the web pages I'm building for her for Brighter Days!

To celebrate, we went up to the local Margaritas Mexican Restaurant for an early dinner. Neither one of us has been feeling too good for the last week, hacking through colds. I think Sue is coming out of it and I'm about half way. So, pretty low key. But Sue had coconut and lime Margaritas, and their coconut shrimp salad with cilantro. All sounded good to me, and so we both had it. Pretty good, actually.

After we got home, it was early so we played a set of backgammon with a 'death match' at the end before watching the long, but action filled Michael Mann directed 1995 Al Pacino, and Robert DeNiro movie Heat. But that was it. We were both tired, and coughing, and just called it a night.

Saturday, Sue felt like going to the beach and just laying in the sun because temps were supposed to hit 80. I don't do laying on the beach. Besides, I had a rough night coughing and woke up feeling really bad, so she headed out mid morning while I did my best to focus on a book I'm writing.

We had been looking forward to going to a small party at the House's tonight, but I ached so bad that I knew I wasn't going to make it; that as night approached I'd be feeling even weaker. Actually, I didn't even do very well during the day, having to go in and lie down on the sofa 4 times as my body was just dragging. My brain wasn't doing much better. Too bad, because I could have gotten a lot of writing done. As it was, only a few pages. But at least some progress.

When Sue got back from the beach late in the afternoon, she took a shower before we sat down for some wine and backgammon out on the deck. After a dinner of a salad and pizza, we watched a Comcast OnDemand movie, Gambit, staring Colin Firth and Cameron Diaz, which was okay.

Sunday was another beautiful day. Though both of us were feeling better, we didn't want to push it. After breakfast we headed out to do the food shopping so we wouldn't have to do it later in the afternoon. As it turned out, that was a really good decision as Sue got to spend a lot of time out on the deck reading and studying while I actually felt good enough to edit about 40 pages of my book.

We sat out together on the deck from 2:00pm until about 4:00pm talking over some of the course material that Sue had taken, took a short break, and then back out on the deck for some wine and backgammon until 5:30pm when we went in to start dinner, a marvelous recipe for chicken in an onion, garlic, lemon, olive, white wine, and herb saute served with a side of sauteed herbs and cubed squash.

06/08/14: Has Hat; Ready to Retire.
Sue took this picture of me on the deck so that I could send it to my karate disciple, Master James Nancarrow.

He and his wife Chris threw it all up in the air last year and called it a day, quit their jobs, and retired to Florida. He sent me a picture of himself in retirement with his hat.

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Sending him the picture with my hat on is just to let him know that I'm not far behind, not to have too much fun too soon, and wish me well!

06/14/14: The Great 2014 10 Years At The Garrison Backgammon Tournament And Spaghetti Bolognese Celebration!
[*** Pictures Coming ***] On Saturday the 14th, Sue and I held The Great 2014 10 Years At The Garrison Backgammon Tournament And Spaghetti Bolognese Celebration!.

Right after I moved into The Garrison 06/11/2004 I held a 'moving in' party where I fixed Spaghetti Bolognese and we watched the movie Top Gun. And every year after for many, many years I had a party to celebrate each moving in anniversary with Spaghetti Bolognese and Top Gun.

The last few years, though, we've had other meals and movies. But with this year being the 10th Anniversary, we just - (I just) - had to do Spaghetti Bolognese and Top Gun and bring back the tradition! It really doesn't get any better than this. It really doesn't!

Prep work for the sauce is quite the ordeal, though. I started just after 3:00pm and really didn't have things all totally simmering until just after 4:30pm. But then.... there was wine to sip, and great care and patience cutting and chopping, mixing herbs and spices in the sauce, and wine to sip.... I had a wonderful time!

After I got the sauce simmering (which I usually let it do so for a couple of hours), Sue and I played some backgammon until folks started to arrive. We got to play a lot of games before I served dinner at 7:00pm, as advertised. And the movie got going just a little after 8:00pm. I try to time it so these parties don't go past 10:30pm and try for 10:00 so that everyone can get home at a decent time.

06/15/14: Father's Day Movie and Dinner Out
[*** Pictures Coming ***] Colin and Ren, and Marissa and Gary took Sue and I out for ice cream, a movie, and dinner for Father's Day. We all met early afternoon at the Sugar & Ice Creamery in Barrington, NH for cones. We all just had small ones as we didn't want to stuff ourselves and their ice cream is soooooo good; it was all we could do to restrain ourselves, for sure!

From there, we just went south on Rt. 125 a short distance to BarnZ's Barrington Cinema to see the new Tom Cruise movie, The Edge of Tomorrow, which we all thought was really good; Cruise did a great job being a regular actor instead of some of his current rather pompous presentations. And, look, two days of Tom Cruise is great regardless. The movie was high action with great effects and a good story line. Super Father's Day entertainment, and that's what I was looking for. Done!

After the movie, we all drove over to Marissa and Gary's house in Rochester for Chinese food and a beer. Now, just by itself, Chinese food and beer is only surpassed by pizza and beer. So, a great end to a really exciting day with the kids.

But wait! It wasn't over yet! When Sue and I got back home, it was just early enough to have a sip of Limoncello and watch the really entertaining 1989 Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan movie, When Harry Met Sally. Now that's a full day of, as my disciple Grandmaster David Landers would say: "More fun than humans ought to have!"

06/16/14: 65th Birthday Dinner Spectacular!
For my 65th Birthday, Sue made an outstanding replication of one of my favorite dinners my mother used to cook: Beef Stroganoff. Sue had asked me a couple of weeks before what I'd like to have, and that was my request. What a wonderful meal! In fact, she did a better job capturing the essence of what I remember it to have been than I've ever been able to do! Excellent meal.

However..., it is on this very same birthday, just before sitting down to this wonderful meal, that Sue sent me into an almost a depressive and bowel moving state by absolutely kicking the crap out of me at backgammon. She whopped me to the unheard of score of 21 up! 21 up! So then she softens that with the great meal.... I had to let it go because it was such a great series, and she just gave me a really good senior thumpin'! But, on my birthday? My 65th birthday? Really???? Fierce is all I can call it.

I had also requested that we watch the 2014 movie, Lone Survivor which Colin had given me the Blu-ray of for Father's Day. Now, that was a really well done movie. Lots of action, but a little sad to know that it was a true story. We watched most of the Special Features and were just amazed at how close to detail the movie was, as well as commentary by Marcus Luttrell, the actual soldier that survived. But a great action movie, spectacular photography and special effects.

06/21/14: Summer Solstice Adventure
[*** Pictures Coming ***] To celebrate June 21 summer solstice, Sue and I went on a great summer adventure to an art museum, dinner at the beach, and then a movie back here at the condo.

We first traveled out Rt. 4 and then headed east over the back roads to the Ogunquit Museum of American Art in Ogunquit, ME. Sue had wanted to go to their current exhibit, Alexandra de Steiguer: Small Island, Big Picture. de Steiguer has spent the last 17 years as the winter caretaker on Star Island at the Isles of Shoals.

From early November through March, she is the sole human living on the island. In her solitude she photographs the island and keeps voluminous journals while living a life of seclusion and contemplation.

Her pictures were just wonderful. I found them particularly interesting because the artist had included excerpts from her journal next to some of them which made the pictures all that more penetrating. She had produced a book of those and other photographs she had taken out there, but it lacked the same intensity as the exhibit because, for some reason, she didn't include any journal entries.

Like anything else, you can't just put the art out there; it must be accompanied with a story for the observer to truly become engaged. Personal commentary: that and a buck may get you a cup of coffee.

After looking through the other exhibits, we toured the gardens outside, and walked down to the rocky bluff overlooking the ocean where Sue got some beautiful shots.

There was just the slightest of breezes, the warm air filled with the smells of the ocean and rocky shoreline. We had met two other couples, one from New York city, and the other from a small town about an hour south of Boston. It always adds to an experience when you meet nice folks that share the same excitement over seeing something you enjoy as well.

Just after 5:00pm we headed south along the really scenic and winding Shore Road into York Beach, ME. Sue had never been out to The Cliff House Resort & Spa, and so along the way we took a slight detour to drive out there.

It's a large resort overlooking the scared rocks from a past glacial retreat and dramatic ocean views. A huge stretch limo was quietly parked off to the side of one of the areas. The driver sat on some sort of wooden object waiting patiently as a couple had their wedding photographs taken at the cliff's edge.

We continued down Shore road and into York Beach Village. What a busy area that was; there were people everywhere. I remember making the comment to Sue as we crawled through town what a difference there was in the very quaint and artsy Ogunquit area was in comparison to York Beach's more commercialized (and what I consider tacky) tourist beach town.

But, that's just me. I used to think differently of York 20 years ago. But times change, and, as far as I'm concerned, York has lost all of it's quaintness to commercialized tee shirt shops, pizza joints, and tacky gift venues with plastic bobble-head sharks.

After getting through the traffic surrounding York's Wild Kingdom, actually a really great place to spend the day, we got back out onto Shore Road along the water where traffic, though slow, still moved right along.

We met up with friends Linda and my disciple Rick Downs for dinner at the Sun and Surf Restaurant on Long Sands Beach in York, ME. Rick had already parked himself at a table out on the deck, so it wasn't long before we were all enjoying the really spectacular day.

Sue had exotic drink on the brain all week as we had visited here last year on June 21st and she, actually both of us, had this wonderful turquoise tinted Margarita. They didn't have that, but she got something similar and enjoyed life fully after that! Summer has officially begun, and this may very well become an annual event for us!

After finishing up a really grand meal, we all came to our place to watch the 1990 movie, Internal Affairs with Richard Gere, and Andy Garcia. But that was it! After Rick and Linda headed out, we tumbled into bed and fell right to sleep.

06/28/14: Hot Day Kayaking at the Bellamy Reservoir.
[*** Pictures Coming ***] The temperature was destined to hit the 90s today, Saturday, so Sue and I decided it would be a good day to get out on the water. But first, we drove over to the store and did the food shopping so we wouldn't have to go out and do that on Sunday.

While Sue unpacked the groceries, I got all the straps and carry gear out, and put the life vests, paddles, cushions, and all that into the trunk. By the time Sue came out to help me load up the kayaks at 10:30am, it was already getting pretty hot. We got the kayaks locked down and headed over to the French Cross Road end of the Bellamy Reservoir.

We were on the water by 10:30am and just gunk-holed our way up the east bank of the northern tributary, and then back down the west bank. We hugged the shoreline and really took our time investigating everything.

I don't know how many pictures Sue took, but I was always pulling over and snuggling the nose of my kayak into the sandy shore to park to wait for her to come around the bend. Not quite enough shade, so despite all the sun screen I had put on, I still got my knees and arms tinged.

I was amazed to see so many fish pools; they were everywhere. Some were fairly good sized as well. I'd never seen them before and Sue explained how the fish made them. Very interesting.

It was around 5:00pm by the time we got home. We were both pretty drained, so we just took quick showers, got the wine poured, and went out on the deck to play backgammon. We stayed out there quite awhile, even having a pizza while playing. The movie of the night was the really exciting 2014 Liam Neeson, and Julianne Moore movie, Non Stop.

07/05/14: The Great 2014 4th of July Backgammon Tournament and Spicy Summer Beans and Dogs!
Saturday July 5th Sue and I held The Great 2014 4th of July Backgammon Tournament and Spicy Summer Beans and Dogs! Current Picture

I started food prep early at 3:00pm as the party was starting at 4:00pm. Not really that much to do, but wanted to be sure I wouldn't get hung up later.

I had wanted to serve dinner by 6:00pm so that we could start the movie by 7:00pm, the 2014 Martin Scorsese directed, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Jonah Hill The Wolfe of Wall Street because it's a 3 hour movie. This was the third time I'd seen it and it just flies! Great movie, though probably too raw for most folks.

07/13/14: Sunday Tour of Portsmouth Lighthouse
[*** Pictures Coming ***] Sue and I drove over to the U.S. Coast Guard Station in Newcastle to take one of the Sunday tours of Portsmouth Lighthouse.

Each Sunday from late May through mid-October the Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses have Open Houses & Tours for the general public. Neither of us had been up in the lighthouse before, the weather was great, and so up we went! All 77 steps and 7 rungs on a verticle ladder to get into the upper light room.... It was not only a lot of fun, but what great views from such a historic site.

After the tour of the lighthouse, we walked under the huge stone archway into Fort Constitution and wandered around the grounds there for awhile, watching all the boats coming and going in Portsmouth Harbor.

On the way home we stopped off at the store to do food shopping for the night's dinner and for the week. After playing some serious backgammon out on the deck, I fixed a marvelous Chicken Piccata that we enjoyed out on the deck as we finished off a local vinyard bottle of red table wine. Movie of the night was the really nice 2000 Nicolas Cage and Tea Leoni movie The Family Man.

07/17/14: On Gilford, NH Brown Belt Karate Testing Board
Thursday evening, 5 of us packed into Steve's car and headed up to Gilford, NH. I was sitting on my disciple Master Russ Jones testing board for 3 of his junior students testing for the rank of 3rd degree brown belt.

It's a really tough exam. We don't distinguish between juniors, women, elders, whatever. When you're on deck, you're treated as a martial artist. It was particularly difficult for these junior women (15, 14, and 12) in the outside self defense portion where they must deal with pretty violent situations due not only their petite body sizes, but the smallest person acting in the role of attacker weighed 150 lbs!

We don't cut anybody any slack and so when all was said and done, these martial artists more than deserved promotion. I suspect they were all hurtin' units the next day after being thrown on the ground numerous times and having adults, sometimes 180 pounders, flatening them out on the ground a screaming in their face. Did I mention that we don't cut anybody any slack?

07/18/14: Dinner Out to Celebrate Sue's New Job
After leaving her work with the social services agency after they were unable to provide her with the hours promised, Sue's application to work for the U.S. Government at the Portsmouth, NH Visa Processing Center was approved.

I decided what better excuse to go out to dinner to celebrate her first day on the job which would be that coming Monday the 21st. We had such a lovely meal at The Bridge Street Bistrot & Wine Bar in Portsmouth, NH, just about a 15 minute drive from us, that we both want to go back again soon! Need something else now to celebrate! Then again, maybe we'll just go for the heck of it!

07/19/14: Blueberry Picking at Butternut Farm
[*** Pictures Coming ***] Saturday morning, Sue and I headed off to Butternut Farm in Farmington, NH to pick blueberries. It's a really nice drive over there, and the weather was clear and warm.

It wasn't crowded at all, and so we got right to it. We not only got a large bucket of blueberries, but we also picked strawberries and some rasberries. I really enjoy doing this type of thing, and Sue and I discussed having both a vegetable garden as well as maybe even a flower garden at some point.

On the way home we did some food shopping for the week. But tonight, it was going to be pizza and wine on the deck while playing backgammon. We finished up the night with the really interesting 2011 movie, In Time.

07/23/14: Quick Mid-Week Dinner Out for Burgers And Beer!
After driving Sue up to get her car at the shop after work Wednesday, she and I decided to head over to The 99 Restaurant to check out their new decor and have burgers and a beer for dinner. Wonderful....

07/26/14: Visit to Tamworth, NH
Sue and I drove up to Tamworth, NH to pick her mom up for lunch. We drove all around the Freedom, NH area as neither Sue or I had really investigated that area much before.

I was really taken with the beauty of Freedom Village itself. Very old New England in it's style and layout with what appears to be a thriving artistic community.

We visited the 1600 acre Bemis Farm in Tamworth that Sue had helped manage and where her kids were brought up, stopping by a quick running Cold River that she and the kids used to play in. She just had to take here shoes off and wander around in the still really piercingly chilly mountain water rushing over the rocks.

After lunch and dropping Sue's mom off at home, we drove out Rt. 25 toward Lake Winnipesaukee, onto Rt. 109 through Melvin Village, and Tuftonboro. Wolfeboro was busy, but not as bad as I thought it would be. It was a beautiful day, but getting on in the afternoon, so we kept heading south for home.

We had stopped along the way for some fresh corn, and had that with dinner while playing some backgammon on the deck. Movie of the night was the really well done 2014 Ridley Scott Out of the Furnace

08/09/14: Kayaking on the Salmon Falls River
[*** Pictures Coming ***] Sue and I had a marvelous time Saturday 08/09/14 kayaking on the Salmon Falls River.
08/11/14: Back to NSLC
First day at work was fun for sure. I was hired back by Dell Services Federal Government to return to work with the Department of Navy, NAVSEA at the NSLC detachment at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. I really enjoyed working with NSLC from 2008 to 2012 when I was laid off due to budget constraints at the time. It was great getting back with old friends and meeting new folks who have been brought on board.
08/15/14: Friday Night Dinner Out
Colin and Ren had been asking Sue and I when we'd be able to get together for dinner again. Celebrating my return to work seemed like the perfect event. We met at the new location of Paddy B's on Dover Point Road at 6pm and had a great time.

Though Paddy B's new spot is really nice, it, unfortunately, fell far short as a good Italian restaurant, which it's billed to be. I think the owner decided to go after the bar crowd and just provide mediocre food. Though my Bolognese sauce was very good, there was little of it spread out thinly over what must have been 2 pounds of linguine noodles. Sue's ravioli was even less impressive: very minimal sauce and the cheese that the ravioli was stuffed with was nondescript and bland at best.

I ordered a bottle of Louis Martini Cabernet that was thin, sharp, and little real cab flavor. I don't remember the year, so could have been an off year for this otherwise really good vineyard. However, the biggest problem was that these folks don't know how to store wine, and this could very well have contributed to the issue. The cork was totally dry when pulled; not even the bottom was wet. At all! At $27 and obviously not the type of place that would really give a shit, I didn't say anything.

But because of this as well as the stupid food presentation we won't be going back. And I might mention that this is our second time at Patty B's, with last time just a bland feeling about the food. Sorry, guys, but I hope your bar business does well because your food and wine are not going to put you on the map.

08/16/14: The Great 2014 Mid Summer Break Backgammon Tournament and Country Ham Sizzler!
[*** Pictures Coming ***] In the past, I tended to not have backgammon dinner parties in the heat of Aug and Sept. But we just had to have one! Saturday evening 08/16/14 Sue and I hosted The Great 2014 Mid Summer Break Backgammon Tournament and Country Ham Sizzler!

I really wanted to get all the food prep done before the party began at 5:30pm and so Sue and I started chopping at 3:30pm. While I worked on a Ham, Zucchini, and Corn Extravaganza, Sue did up a wonderful batch zucchini and cheese patties as well as an outstanding bunch of ice cream filled cardamom cookies that she baked. So, we ate really good again!

Folks started arriving around the start time, and I got to play some backgammon with Sue and Steve before teaching Corell how to play. We were out on the deck for awhile, but the air got just the slightest of chill to it (on its way into the low 50's that night), so we moved inside.

The movie of the night was the awful Circle of Iron, an old 1978 martial arts flick. Supposedly one of Bruce Lee's written works; it was originally conceived to be a teaching tool for the young student. As a movie, it was awful. It must have been awful in 1978.

08/23/14: Blueberry Picking
After Sue got back Saturday morning from her class in Exeter called 'Brain Change'. The class was based on an analysis of how foods we eat can deter dementia, alzheimers, and ADHD, and even grow new brain cells. We jumped in the car and drove up to Butternut Farm in Farmington.

There were still row after row of blueberry bushes with great berries ready to pick. We got 2 big cardboard containers, and I think Sue is going to make a pie with them on Sunday. We had so much fun that we also picked a small box of peaches as well.

Around 4:30pm I poured some wine and we went out on the deck to play a little backgammon. Sue absolutely decimated me last week, ending the week Wednesday driving me into the dirt by 28 points. Man, it's been 35 years since anyone's had me down that badly! Friday night I was up 12 points, and I ended up this evening's play 6 up, though I had her down 15 at one point. We'll see how it goes tomorrow! Whew!

08/30/14: Labor Day Weekend Saturday Kayaking on the Lamprey
[*** Pictures Coming ***] Sue and I headed out around noon on Saturday for Newmarket, NH to go kayaking on the Lamprey River. There are several launch points; we chose the one off of one of the condo projects toward the south west.

We spent about 4 hours exploring. The weather was just terrific, and I really enjoyed this river. Might even be my favorite so far!

We stopped off at a little convenience store on the way home. Sue had heard that they had take out Turkish food, and we just thought that would be a great experience. And it was! Really interesting food, particularly the spinach stuffed rice ball. I've got to figure out how to do that!

08/31/14: Dinner Party at Neighbors
One of Sue's good friends, Anita, here at the community invited us to join her and several of her friends for a pot luck international dinner party. Sue and I made sautéed Italian Summer Squash that came out great. Mara, who Sue knew from years ago, is from Peru and so her dish was a wonderful sampling of chicken, vegetables, and sauces. Others did appetizers, cookies, and other great food. Great time meeting new folks.
09/01/14: Labor Day
After spending the day just relaxing, Sue and I headed out on the deck to play some backgammon and chat. We had bought 2 sirloin steaks that she had been marinating in a Teriyaki sauce overnight that we were going to have with some of the leftover summer squash, so I didn't have to go into high gear cooking mode. Nice day.
09/05/14: Lazy Friday Night!
It had been a hot day, and very humid. I was beat when I got home from work and just didn't have any ambition for much. Which was fine with Sue! We just grabbed some wine and went out on the deck to play backgammon. Mah-vo-louse! Our friend Carrel came over around 7:00pm to join us for a spaghetti and garlic bread dinner, and then we watched the rather dull 2009 movie Moon. I don't understand why IMDB voters gave this an 8 rating; I just didn't get it. It was okay, but confusing at best.... Maybe it's just me.
09/13/14: A Little Like Fall
Though sunny through the week, temperatures have only been in the high 50s to 60s during the day and high 40s at night. The leaves haven't started turning as yet, but we're close for sure; only just in the high outside tops along places where there's lots of temperature variance is there any hint of color.

Saturday, Sue and I grabbed all of the boxes of stuff she had gathered together for the last couple of weeks and set up our community yard sale area in front of the garage. Folks started wandering around even before the 8:00am start so we thought it would be a really busy day. Though fairly constant traffic, it wasn't as busy as we had hoped. But... we got rid of just enough stuff to have a bottle of wine next time we go out to dinner, so that was okay.

09/14/14: Sunday Drive To Bristol, New Hampton, and Meredith
Sunday we were up and out the door before 8:00am for another driving tour adventure and 'explore' - as Winnie-the-Pooh might say. We grabbed breakfast sandwiches and coffee at the Lee Circle and were in New Hampton, NH by around 9:45 after a leisurely drive. I had never been to that area and so it was fun to explore. We even ended up over in Bristol, NH, and I really thought that was a cute place. I think I need to go back and investigate that area when we have a little more time.

The goal of the trip was to explore the New Hampton and Meredith areas. We wound around many of the back roads and then down along the shores of Lake Waukewan into Meredith. To avoid the potential of returning weekend traffic, we came out of Meredith the back way and down into Laconia. Such a shame that the powers-that-be in Laconia just don't grasp how horrible they have allowed this potentially magnificent little city to be so fragmented. It was a beautiful day and we were in no hurry, and so we took Rt. 107 down through Gilmanton and Pittsfield, picking up 126 into Dover.

We had done the shopping Saturday afternoon, and so when we got home around 3:30pm we just sat down with a glass of wine and played a few sets of backgammon, listening to music and chatting. For dinner, Sue had found a cornmeal breaded chicken and mushroom recipe that I added a side of skillet sautéed green beans in sherry and basil. We watched the easily entertaining 2003 movie, How to Lose a Guy In 10 Days. Tomorrow I'll worry about around 6:00am...

09/20/14: The Great 2013 Talk Like A Pirate Backgammon Tournament And Beef Stew Over Hardtack!
[*** Pictures Coming ***] Sue and I held The Great 2013 Talk Like A Pirate Backgammon Tournament And Beef Stew Over Hardtack! Saturday night 09/20/14. I've been so busy with work that it totally slipped my mind that the 19th was Talk Like A Pirate Day!

Well, you just can't let that go by without celebration!

Just Sue and I, and Tim, Cindy, and Austin, but we had a marvelous time playing backgammon and sipping wine while the stew slow cooked for a couple of hours.

After dinner, Cindy and Austin headed out and left the rest of us to suffer through the almost unbearable 1995 12 Monkeys. IMDB ratings put it at 8.1. What? Really? I don't think so....

09/26/14: Weekend in Vermont
[*** Pictures Coming ***] After both getting out of work early Friday 09/26/14, Sue and I headed out for our Vermont Fall Foliage Driving Tour. We headed out Route 9, going all the way out to hook up with Route 4 in Northwood.

The idea was to by-pass some of the commuter traffic along Route 4, which can be fairly heavy, particularly on a Friday, so we could get around Concord, NH and onto Route 9 West. Sue's plan was to get over to Brattleboro, VT., across the river there, and then continue on Route 9 into Wilmington, VT. as our first night's stop.

The drive out Route 9 was so pretty; nice road. Interesting going through some of the small towns along the way, but you just glance off them as Route 9 is more of a highway than it is country road. But that was okay because we didn't get going until a little after 3:00pm and wanted to get to Wilmington before it started to get dark. Worked out great because we pulled into town just around 6:00pm and the sun was just dropping for the hill-line to the west.

Sue had been through Wilmington a couple of times in the past, but never had time to stop. She thought we'd both like it. But it turned out to be our favorite stop of the whole trip! We're glad that it was sort of off season and the motel that we stayed out just outside of Wilmington, the less than spectacular Horizon Inn, didn't have their restaurant open. The front desk guy suggested The Anchor Restaurant in Wilmington as one of the best places to eat. And we're glad for that recommendation because we had a good, though a little overpriced, meal in a really very cute place.

In the morning, we drove back into Wilmington to look around and grab some breakfast. So many cute shops, many arts oriented. And a bridge that goes across a river to a very cute little park with walking trails leading off in different directions. We were so surprised, however, to find a stone monument structure with a sign on it indicating that location, right on main street, had been swept away in the floods of 2011 during Hurricane Irene. Amazing! We were just staggered by how powerful that storm was considering how high the water had to rise and how powerful it must have been to totally sweep an entire building away.

From Wilmington, we did a full court press West on Route 9, and then headed north on Route 7 out of Bennington, VT. Sue wanted to try to get some pictures of the early morning sun from the top of Equinox Mountain in Arlington, VT. We stopped for coffee at the ticket cabin and then drove the 5 miles of the Skyline Drive up the mountain. Now, that's a zig-zaggy road with spectacular views out over the valley below. As the website puts it: "At 3,848 feet above sea level, the summit offers breathtaking panoramic views of the Green, White, Adirondack, Berkshire and Taconic mountain ranges."

There is a marvelous lodge at the top of the mountain, the Saint Bruno Scenic Viewing Center. This was part of the original monastery of the Carthusian Monks. On the drive back down Skyline Drive, there is a scenic overview of the current monastery covering 11 square miles of land given to the order in 1950 by Joseph George Davidson. Anyway, really interesting stuff....

We continued North and into Rutland, VT where we stopped for a quick lunch at a MacDonalds. We stopped and walked around the really cute town of Middlebury, VT. Now, that's a really interesting place with great parks and down-town waterfalls.

We back-tracked South on Route 7 to Route 125 East through the Green Mountain National Forest to Hancock, and then south on Route 100 to Killington to see the ski area. If that gets as busy as North Conway in NH does, then it must be a mess because of the few access roads around.

From Killington, we drove down to Weston, VT to The Stone Hearth Inn and Tavern where Sue had made reservations for us as she knew what a beautiful area it was. The Inn itself is just spectacular! Perfect! We pulled in around 4:00pm and couldn't wait to get the luggage up to the room so we could head out onto their quaint porch to play some backgammon.

Before going out, we went into the tavern and ordered a bottle of wine. Dianna poured out a couple of glasses that we took with us. The air, though still warm from the day was getting just a little cool. So, a great, relaxing time. Well, that is until I dropped a checker, and it slipped between the decking boards. I jumped down to the side of the porch and fortunately the lattice was just propped up against the side of the porch, so that I could just poke my head under there and see the checker in the dirt.

So, there I was sprawled out on the ground struggling to retrieve the checker, and Sue grabs her camera and jumps down off the deck to get a shot of my ass in the air while I'm trying to fish for the damn checker. Yeah, very funny, Sue.... I'll get you and your little dog Toto, too!

My clothes were so wiped out from excavating that checker that I had to go up to the room and change before we headed down to the Tavern for dinner. I asked our waitress why it seemed to be so busy when it appeared that Weston was in the middle of no-where.... Turns out that the inn sits just about center to quite a few major ski areas. The food was wonderful, and the tavern itself is very cute. This is my kind of place! This is as good as it gets for a quaint New England Inn.

After a great breakfast, we were off for a spectacular drive down to Bellows Falls, and then across into Marlow, NH where Sue just had to stop for some pictures at this unbelievably beautiful, quintessential New England village. And the whole drive from there through Stoddard, Bennington, and then into Peterborough, NH is just indescribable.

We worked our way across the state and up into Manchester, NH for the final leg of the trip back into Dover, NH arriving home around 6:00pm. What a great, great trip! Vermont is just so beautiful. I'm so glad that Sue was as familiar with Vermont as she was so that I got to see some of the most spectacular foliage you can imagine.

10/03/14: 2014 Martial Arts Disciple Retreat
[*** Pictures Coming ***] This weekend was my annual Martial Arts Disciple Retreat. My disciple Carl Parker flew in late afternoon on Wednesday 10/01 from Albuquerque, NM. This gave us a couple of days for the two of us to work together. And, to shop and make other preparations for the start of the retreat on Friday morning.

We had a special class Thursday evening so some of our local folks could all work out together. But things began in earnest at 8:00am Friday morning when everyone arrived, including my disciple, and now Master, Jim Nancarrow, who had driven up with his wife Chris from Florida.

My first presentation began around 9:00am, breaking for a quick delivered Chinese lunch. As we usually have an informal spaghetti dinner Friday evening, I gave everyone time to relax early evening before dinner, though jumped right back in during dinner and going through until about 11:00pm. Well, that was for everyone except Carl who I kept up until something like 1:00am.

Saturday morning, Carl was up early and beginning prep work on a Southwest inspired breakfast that was nothing short of a great way to kick off the morning. We went straight through until late afternoon when I turned everyone loose while I met individually with each person. While I fixed dinner, a take off on a Caribbean chicken and mango dish that came out terrific, despite the chef sipping wine the whole time!

I was able to wind up the retreat with my summary presentation on time this year, for once, and so everyone helped with a quick clean up of the condo before heading out. We had wanted to see Chris Nancarrow while she was up, and so we invited them and Jim's sister, Nancy, over for Sunday dinner. Sue made Roasted Brussels Sprouts to go with the herb spiced pork chops I made. It was great having everyone around and catching up on things going on in their lives outside of our martial arts connection.

10/11/14: Saturday Fall Drive Up To Alton
Sue and I headed out about 1:00pm for a Saturday Fall drive up to the Alton, NH area to see how the leaves there have changed. It was Columbus Day weekend, and so we thought we'd just stay off the main roads to avoid any leaf-peeper traffic.

We had a wonderful drive! Left about 11:30am and didn't get back until just after 3:00pm. We stopped off and did the food shopping, played some backgammon, and ended up the evening watching the rather sobering, but soooo well acted 2013 Robert De Niro and John Travolta movie, "Killing Season"

10/12/14: Hike Up Blue Job Mountain
[*** Pictures Coming ***] Sue and I left the house about 11:30am for a hike up Blue Job Mountain. It was such a beautiful day with the leaves now just beginning to turn into their darker colors.

This was only my second time, and Sue wanted to show me the watch tower. It's not too far in the opposite direction of the hard top area, but it is at a higher elevation. Unfortunately, you have to actually climb up several flights of steep steel stairs to get above the tree-line to see anything. I passed on that; stairs like that do me in.... And for whatever it's worth: I don't think the experience over there is better than on the hard top observation area that we walked through the woods to next.

We parked it on a large flat bolder, had a bottle of water, and some lunch, and just enjoyed the views. This is going to be a regular Fall thing for us; it's that good. And not a bad hike up either!

After getting home around 3:00pm, Sue fixed a meatloaf dinner for later. We had invited our neighbor Nancy over for dinner and, what turned out to be the not so pleasant 2013 movie, "12 Years a Slave"

. We never made it through all the way; just not of interest to any of us. Well done movie and great acting. But I want to be entertained by a movie. If I want the reality of life, I'll just walk around outside or listen to CNN.
10/13/14: Quiet Columbus Day Holiday
We just decided to use today as a quiet day and not plan or really do anything. I worked on a programming project I have going for most of the morning, sipping coffee and watching all of the changing colors on the leaves.
10/17/14: Friday Night Dinner with the House Family
We had a great visit and dinner with my long time karate disciple, and now Master, Tim House and his wife Cindy, who holds a Certified First Degree Black Belt with me. It was great to see their son Austin light up when Sue came in as he had picked out the desert cake for her upcoming birthday. Cindy had made a great meal Beef Bourguignon which we had with a bottle of Chateauneuf-du-Pape that Tim had been promising.
10/18/14: Another Fall Drive
[*** Pictures Coming ***] Sue and I left around 8:30am to drive up to Tamworth, NH to help Sue's mom with some final flower bed clean up before winter. Her mom said she had already seen snow on top of Mt. Washington, so it won't be long before winter really arrives.

After finishing off that, Sue drove us around Madison, NH to visit some areas her mom hadn't seen in years. Wow! What spectacular scenery with some final trees blasting brilliant colors, while others began their rainbow slide through light browns.

The real thrust of the scenic drive, though, was to pick apples at Ward's Orchard in Madison. Of course, as soon as we pulled into the parking area of this rather remote place to find, it started to drizzle. By the time Sue and I had gathered two-thirds of the bucket we were given ($5 for drops only as it was the end of the season), it started to rain pretty hard. She had a storm jacket on, but I didn't, and opted, rather sheepishly, to bolt for the car. By the time Sue finished and we saw her through the fog and rain, it was a hard downpour.

Leaving Tamworth after dropping Sue's mom back home, we decided to take Rt. 28 over to Wolfeboro, NH; a sort of extended Fall drive. The rain continued sporadically, sometimes with the sun blasting through some of the most spectacular cloud formations. So spectacular, that a couple of times Sue just jerked the car over to the side of the road and either shot out the window, or ran across the street with her camera to get the angle she wanted.

Well, we just can't help ourselves and so drove all around Wolfeboro area, then veered off onto Middleton Road. It was such a beautiful ride down to Middleton itself that when Sue realized we were right by Sunrise Lake, we decided that we'd rather investigate that area then blitz home.

From Sunrise, Sue took us off on Rt. 153 and into Farmington, NH. I had never been to Farmington itself, always just passing by on Rt. 11, so we wandered around there so I could see the town; Sue had been there many times when she was working as a commercial photographer doing school yearbooks.

We dropped down onto Rt. 11 and went through parts of Rochester, NH that I hadn't seen either. Just a day for new sights, I guess!

We stopped off at the Hannaford market to do our shopping for the week, and then came home on Rt. 108 as opposed to 125 or the Spaulding Turnpike. Then it was time to open a bottle of wine, and sit and play backgammon until we decided to put a pizza in for dinner. The movie of the night was the rather disappointing 2014 Transcendence, which was not only confusing at times, but, despite the great cast, just boring and unbelievable, even with a very interesting plot.

Sunday, I wasn't fast enough to watch the entire process, but Sue used half of the apples that she had picked at Ward's to make home made apple sauce. I had never seen the apple-crusher-thingie that she used, so that was interesting. And she hardly had to add any sugar as they were so sweet; just a touch of cinnamon brought the mix to life. What's amazing is the little waste that is left and really the small amount of sauce that comes from a quarter bushel of apples. Learn something everyday, though missed the boiling down process. Next time, maybe, as I think going up to Ward's will be something we want to do every year!

10/24/14: Weekend Trip to Newfound Lake Area
[*** Pictures Coming ***] Sue and I spent a wonderful weekend around the Newfound Lake Area. She had driven through the area many times in the past but never really spent any time there, and it had been probably 35 years since I had been up, mostly for weekend karate exams or retreats.

We couldn't have picked a better weekend to go up. The leaves had just about midway through their downward color spectrum, the air was warm but brisk, and there were few folks around.

We left Dover after work, about 4:30pm and arrived at our destination, The Inn on Newfound Lake, about 6:15pm despite the Friday commuter traffic.

After unpacking, we headed out for dinner to Kathleen's Cottage Irish Pub & Restaurant where we had a very nice meal in one of the most lovely and quaint pubs we've been in. I'd go back there any time for sure! When we got back to the inn, I got a glass of wine for myself, and a whisky and ginger for Sue. We took those upstairs to the inn's tv room where we played backgammon until we were so tired we just headed to the room.

Sue wanted to get up before sunrise Saturday morning and take some pictures of the lake from the beach that the inn ownes. Though not the most spectacular of sun rises, the crispness of the air, smell of the lake, and gentle breeze that kicked up small waves crashing against the cold sand of the beach was just about as good as you could get!

We met with Lorna Platts of Old Mill Properties and one of her agents, Kim at 9:00am to tour the area and look at some property. You just never know! Actually, we did find a lovely place. It was in Hebron, population 600 with median age of 57, which wasn't a match for some of the business that we plan to have in retirement. But what a nice, nice property. After we left Kim and had lunch, we drove all around and did drive-bys of about a dozen other properties. But nothing had what we were looking for.

To top off the afternoon, we drove up to Plymouth, NH to check that out. What a nice town, though because of the college would be a lot like living here in Durham, and neither of us are at this point interested in a college town. And college is all Plymouth really is about. But it's a beautiful New England town.

We got back to the inn about 5:00pm, cleaned up and changed for dinner, and headed down to the really cute and comfortable sitting room off the main entry way to have some wine and play backgammon. Because it was an 'off week', the restaurant was all but empty so there was no rush to get in there. But around 7:15 or so, we wandered in and had a lovely meal.

We took a couple of glasses of brandy up to the upstairs tv room and played a few games more of backgammon before just relaxing and chatting. While we were in there, one of the owners, Larry, came in to set up the morning's breakfast supplies, and we fell into a really interesting conversation with him. He made his money in the insanity of interior design in Hollywood, CA, and then he and his partner bought the inn, formerly called the Pasquaney Inn. He's owned the inn for a little over 20 years, and just loves it and the area.

Sunday we were on the road about 9:00am heading south on Route 3-A. We wanted to come home through Franklin and Tilton just to see those areas as Tilton was supposedly the alternate shopping area to the Plymouth area from the lakes area. We took all the back roads, ending up on Route 126 coming into Dover over Route 9. What had taken us about an hour and a half going up to Bristol ended up taking us almost 4 hours coming home. But that's how we roll!

10/29/14: Halloween Pumpkin Carving Event!
[*** Pictures Coming ***] Wednesday after work, Sue and I carved a couple of pumpkins while having a glass of wine. We had bought the pumpkins a couple of weeks ago and had them sitting out on the front steps. It was nice to finally give them an 'expression'!

11/01/14: The Great 2014 Halloween Backgammon Tournament And Spooky Trinidad Chicken Curry Party!
[*** Pictures Coming ***] Saturday 11/01/14 Sue and I held The Great 2014 Halloween Backgammon Tournament And Spooky Trinidad Chicken Curry Party! I was able to get the curry sauce cooking in the slow cooker early and so Sue and I had a good start on some backgammon even before folks started arriving. We had a great time! Another successful gathering!

And Sunday morning we woke up with an extra hours sleep from the time change to a blustery, chilly, and drizzly November. And by 10:30, it had started to snow, a large, heavy, wet-soaked snow that slammed against the side of the house and yelled at you through the windows that winter is coming.

11/14/14: First Snow!
It's been getting cold at night, and the days have had a bite to the breeze. We woke up this morning to a dusting of snow on the ground here in Dover. By the time I got to work along the seacoast, it was just a light, but chilling drizzle. But it appears that winter is rolling in on us!

11/15/14: Saturday Scramble!
Saturday morning, Sue and I were up at 6:30am and on a flat run that lasted for the whole day. Sue had learned just a week ago that 3 of her photographs had been selected for display at the 100 Market Street Gallery in Portsmouth for their Winter Show, December 5 through February 21. This is a really big deal, and I'm so very proud of her for this selection and recognition. So, first up was to drop off these at the gallery before 10:00am.

And then she had been asked to take Christmas family portraits for the House family, and so we headed over to their home in Portsmouth. Next up was food shopping for the week, and then looking into some artist studio spaces. We met up with some friends at 5:00pm for a great early dinner at Dante's Pasta & Vino to celebrate Sue's gallery acceptance, and then headed over to the BarnZ's Barrington Cinema for the 7:30pm showing of the 2014 movie, Interstellar.

Well, from both of us: save not only your money, but your time. It's slow, the dialog is very hard to understand, the special effects that were supposed to be so spectacular just aren't, and the purpose behind the movie is so difficult to determine that it's painful. Yes, there is a nice twist at the end but it's so nonsensical that even that didn't come across as worth the effort of sitting there. I love movies, but if I would have got this one on disk, it would have been shut off in 20 minutes, 30 tops for sure. But that's just our opinion....

11/21/14: Nice Visit
My disciple Rick Downs dropped by for a nice visit. Sue had left right after work to drive down to R.I. for a weekend vist with her daughter Jill, so I was just hanging out anyway. After chatting for awhile, we watched the 2010 movie, Wall Street Never Sleeps. Rick hadn't seen that before and thought he enjoyed it more than the iconic 1987, Wall Street. After he left, I entertained myself by watching 2 backlogged episodes of the History Channel's series, Down East Dickering. Didn't get to bed until well after midnight, but that's fine; still up by 8 Saturday morning.

11/22/14: Movie Night at The Garrison
Since Sue was away for the weekend and knowing she probably wouldn't put the martial arts movie Redbelt high on her 'must see' list, I held a Movie Night At The Garrison Saturday night 11/22. House, Downs, Serven, Richter, and Toye were all good participatants with me for this fun evening.

When one of my disciples Brian Serven mentioned that he was going to bring vegan Thai food, I thought that was a far better choice than the Chinese food that I had considered for the group. And it was terrific! I saved some for Sue as I knew she'd love it as well.

Unfortunately, the movie part of it didn't come out as smoothly. I could not get the DVD from NetFlix that I had gotten to load in my player; just hung- even when I pulled the flash stick out of the back of my player. When I called out the names of some of the other movies I had, no one had seen Lone Survivor, the 2013 Mark Wahlberg adaptation of the 2007 nonfiction book of the same name by Marcus Luttrell telling of his experience during the war in Afghanistan. Though grim in its overall implications, the movie itself is one of the finest war action movies I've seen. And I think everyone there agreed.

11/26/14: Heavy Snowstorm Knocks Out Power
A winter storm barrelled up the coast Wednesday, dumping heavy, wet snow across New England. It knocked out power to approximately 170,000 folks in New Hampshire alone, some towns being 100% out! It was reported that this storm was responsible for the largest power outage in New Hampshire ever. Over 4,500 Dover residents ended up without power for over 2 days. Ours went out at around 9:00pm Wednesday evening and didn't come back on until Friday morning around 10:00am. Winter is here!

11/27/14: Thanksgiving in the White Mountains
[*** Pictures Coming ***] Sue and I left Thursday mid morning to join her family in Tamworth, NH for Thanksgiving. We took a side trip up Route 11 to the Alton, NH area to explore, and then up Route 28 into Wolfeboro, NH and back out to Route 16 in Ossipee, NH, swinging by Sue's mom's house to pick her up.

It was a spectacularly beautiful drive with all of the trees bowed over from the heavy coating of snow that had fallen (about 5 inches in Dover, but around 10 inches in Tamworth area). We had a great time visiting with everyone and sharing a huge Thanksgiving feast.

We headed back around 7:45pm, dropping Sue's mom off and then stopping off at her Aunt Carol's to drop some food off and visit for awhile. When we got home at 9:45pm, the power was still out and it was pretty cool in the house. So, we just headed to bed and called it a day as Sue had to work Friday.

11/28/14: Power Back On!
It was snowing when we got up around 7:45am Friday morning. Power was still out and we were in need of coffee. Sue suggested we go out to Strafford Farms for breakfast, and so after I got the kerosene heater set up we headed out.

I had taken the day off to work on some projects, but with the power off I figured I'd just make it up as I went when I got home from breakfast. On the way back home, we stopped at McDonalds to get me a large coffee. Surprisingly, when we got home, the power was back on!

Sue headed off to work and I spent the morning catching up on bill paying and then did some writing. After lunch I went food shopping for tomorrow's dinner party, did some laundry, and carted in a load of wood for the fireplace. When Sue got home, it was nice to light a fire and play some backgammon and just relax.

11/29/14: Another Thanksgiving Celebration!
[*** Pictures Coming ***] Saturday 11/29 we spent the morning doing all of the prep-work for another Thanksgiving celebration with Colin, Lauren, Marissa, and Gary. Sue made everyone's favorite sweet potato casserole (specifically requested by Marissa!), cranberry sauce, and one of the best apple crisps I've ever had while I basted down a 13 pound turkey with a wonderful mixture of butter, marjoram, thyme, and some other ingredients that Master Chef James of the former Blue Strawberry restaurant in Portsmouth, NH had taught me back in the early 1970s.

I got the turkey into a 575 degree oven for its 45 minute searing stage by around noon. Then Sue and I pulled it out, I basted it with Gallo Hearty Burgandy, spread cheese cloth soaked in the wine across the top of the turkey, and then poured more wine over the top. After sealing it with aluminium foil, I'd pull it out every 45 minutes to baste it. By the time everyone got there at 2:00pm, the entire house was filled with such a great mixture of smells that it made us all really hungry.

I lit a fire in the fireplace, and we all had a really nice visit between my trips out to the kitchen to baste the turkey, and Sue finalizing her dishes that needed to go into the oven for the last half hour. We sat down and ate at 3:15pm and it was just a great time. Of course, everyone then was totally "turkey'd out", and so we just relaxed in the living room for an hour chatting until everyone had to head out.

Fall in New England and Thanksgiving are more important to me than any other time or event. I am so thankful to be able to share this time with my family and Sue and her family. This is really what it's all about. Not the job, or money, or 'stuff'. Those things aren't part of you; they're just attachments. It's the experiences and the love that you have in your heart that are forever.

Everyone has problems. I have problems. But if you look at the problems, that's not only all you'll see, but all you'll have. Thanksgiving is an opportunity to confirm this for me. And I'm thankful that I know this and that it is my practice. I hope that through these feelings that I can positively influence those around me to better thoughts about their lives and their interaction with the Nature around us all.

11/30/14: Annual U.N.H. Walkabout
[*** Pictures Coming ***] We left the house about 9:30am Sunday morning with the primary goal of me doing my annual U.N.H. Walkabout. But first, we wanted to go over to Wentworth Gardens and pick up some Poinsettias and a wreath for the door, and then Sue wanted to go down to the outlet mall in Kittery, ME.

We got some great stuff at Wentworth Gardens, even a stone owl that Sue named Wesley. Wesley was placed in a place of importance by the hearth when we got home, and is quite happy there. Well, he didn't complain then, and hasn't since so the assumption has to be that he's happy, right?

It was a perfect day for me for the U.N.H. Walkabout. There was a bitter nip to the air, the sky was clouded over, and the snow from the recent storm still clung to many of the tree branches across campus. Sue took the iconic and obligatory picture of the tree in front of the administration building as we walked along, so another successful walkabout.

12/05/14: Sue Displays Work at Gallery in Portsmouth
[*** Pictures Coming ***] 3 of Sue's photographic works were selected by the 100 Market Street Gallery for display at their winter exhibition. Many of our friends met us there to share the event with Sue, and then 8 of us went out to dinner at the Blue Mermaid.

The exhibit was really interesting as the theme was "Guise, Garment & Textile" which was described in their advertising as "Original design/embellished clothing, costuming, and adornment are encouraged; all 2-D & 3-D art, including the unordinary, nontraditional and installation." There were only 3 photographers selected for this exhibit, each for their unique view of either Nature, as Sue's works were, or people captured in very dramatic settings.

12/06/14: Busy Saturday
Saturday morning we visited two of Sue's friends (in different towns) who were showing their art. Jen, who had come down to Sue's exhibit Friday, was displaying some of her work at the Cara Irish Pub here in Dover, and then we went over to Melissa's in Newmarket. On the way home, we did the food shopping, and then came back for some wine and backgammon with a nice fire going in the fireplace. To compensate for my 4 points down for the evening, we watched the really entertaining 2014 Jon Favreau movie, Chef.
12/07/14: Sunday to The Nutcracker
Sue and I drove over to Exeter High School Sunday morning to support my martial arts student Eleanne's 9 year old daughter Michaela, who was a snowflake in The Nutcracker. How great is being a snowflake in the Nutcracker! Pretty great!
12/13/14: Sad Closing of 1785 Restaurant in North Conway, NH
One of my martial arts disciples, Master Russ Jones from Laconia, NH, informed me the other day that the 1785 Restaurant in North Conway, NH had closed. I sent the following email out to everyone I know who has experienced Charles Mallor's hospitality:
I am sad to announce that Charles Mallor, owner of the 1785 Inn, North Conway, NH, has decided to close the restaurant after 31 years of service. Though a difficult decision, he said that in his older years he now wants to just relax some and be with his family.

I have enjoyed many fine meals at the 1785 over the last 25 years or so. Many of you have been with me, either taking an exam or on a disciple retreat.

I called and spoke with Charlie, and told him how much I have appreciated his service and friendship over the years. It might be a nice gesture on your part to send a card and maybe picture of yourself to him, telling of your experiences there. I think he'd get a kick out of that as I think he really enjoyed hearing from me. I know anyone who has been there and met Charlie has fond memories. He deserves your appreciation.

We'll all miss the experience of the 1785.

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10/13/2006: Dinner Friday night at the 1785 Inn during my 2006 Disciple Retreat. Thanks to Allen for taking out picture! From left to right: Nidan Scott Williams, Nidan Rick Downs, Yondan Russ Jones, myself, Sandan Tim House, and Sandan James Nancarrow.

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05/30/2008: Picture at dinner of myself (Janis leaning protectively in the background), Allen, my friend and waiter of so many years I can't even begin to remember, Charles Mallar, the owner who I have been harassing yearly for, gee... must be going on over 25 years now..., and Colin on a trip to North Conway that I took Colin on.

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10/21/2011: Sue and me with Charlie Mallor (left) and Alan (right) after dinner Saturday night on our weekend Fall Foliage Trip up to Jackson, NH.
12/12/14: Friday Night Fun!
I decided to take Sue out to dinner at the Cara Irish Pub here in Dover. That was the place where the Sue's friend Jen was participating in an art show last week that we visited. I had commented at the time that I'd like try them out. And we're glad we did! The place is not only so cute and cozy, but the food was terrific. I had a great chicken curry dish (one that I would try to replicate later this weekend with cauliflower, though), and Sue's Swedish Meatballs are what I'm going to try when we go next time.
12/13/14: Getting Christmas Cards Ready
We got up Saturday morning and worked on projects all morning. After lunch, Sue and I sat down at the dining room table and put together our Christmas cards, taking the stock frames that Sue had bought and attaching pictures that she had taken during the year to them.

It was great fun. But after listening to Christmas music for awhile as we did the cards(I can only take so much of that), we let the 1977 Ed Asner and Maureen Stapleton movie The Gathering play in the background. I've watched that movie between Thanksgiving and Christmas each year now for... well, pretty much every year. It's become one of my traditions.

12/14/14: Sunday on Plum Island
Sue and I headed out around 9:00am Sunday morning after breakfast - some great pumpkin bread that she had made yesterday - and drove down to the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge on Plum Island, MA. We went all the way to the second to last parking area about 7 miles from the main gate. We almost didn't get a parking spot as things were so busy. But someone came out, and we grabbed it!

Then we had to hike up the wet, muddy road to the Sandy Point observation area. This time in, though, we took one of the trails through the marsh to the harbor inlet side of the area. Because the tide was low, we were able to get across one of the inlets to the other shore and hike back that way, even up a couple of huge sand dunes where there were spectacular ocean views.

On the way home, we stopped off in Exeter and did the food shopping for the week. We didn't get home until around 4:00pm so after storing the food away and building a fire in the fireplace, Sue and I opened the bottle of Australian red wine that we had bought, and played through several sets of backgammon.

It was almost 6:00pm before I even started making dinner. I had figured that it shouldn't be that big of a deal because I was just doing cauliflower, mushrooms, and peas in a home made curry sauce. This was my first 'real' curry sauce attempt, and I really did try to follow the recipe. But you know how that song went: just so far, and then I was fooling around. It came out really good, but I can't imagine following the specific directions. For example, it called for 1 tablespoon of curry powder. Really? No, I don't think so. And even with the 3 and a half table spoons that I put in, along with unmentioned cumin, paprika, coriander, and various hot spices like a little chilli powder, it would have been way too bland.

Anyway, though taking far longer than I had thought to make, not sitting down to dinner until after 8:00pm, the meal came out super! And the pear slices on a bed of arugula and mixed greens salad with a terrific balsamic fig dressing that Sue put together was just the greatest complement to it all. As was the rest of that bottle of wine!

12/19/14: Glorious Surprise!
Marissa invited us up to her house Friday night 12/19/14 for pizza, beer, and a movie. How can you go wrong with pizza, beer, and a movie (the really entertaining 2014 Transformers: Age of Extinction)? Well, you just can't. It shouldn't get any better than that. But it did as you can see from the pictures:
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12/25/14: Christmas Day
[*** Pictures Coming ***] Colin and Marissa came over at 9:00am Christmas Day. Sue fixed bacon and eggs along with this terrific egg noggin coffee cake that was just unbelievable. We also had to find some nitrate free bacon for Marissa when we went shopping. We couldn't tell the difference between it and 'regular' bacon, other than it's more expensive.

We had a wonderful visit until they both left around noon. Sue and I then jumped in the car and drove down to meet her daughter Jill at the Legal Seafoods restaurant in Framingham, MA. This was our second time sharing Christmas dinner with Jill, and was a great opportunity for Sue and Jill to spend some time together. When we got home, Sue also had a nice note from her son Lucas who lives in Lima, Peru. Long day, but rewarding beyond a few physical presents.

12/27/14: Saturday Birthday Visit To Tamworth
Sue and I left home about 8:00am for a drive up to Tamworth, NH. We were picking her mom up to take her out to have a birthday lunch for her. We left early as we had about 5 properties that we wanted to do a 'drive-by' to check out. They were all on the way, and so, though making it a long, long day (we didn't get home until 7:00pm!), we had a great time.

We took her mom to The Village Kitchen on Route 25 in Moultonborough, NH. We all really enjoy this place. It's not only got some great simple home cooked food, but the views are just to die for; exactly what Sue and I would love to find. After lunch, we took a long drive over the back roads on the way to Merideth, NH, Gilford, NH, and then into Laconia, NH before heading back to Tamworth.

12/29/14: Out For Dinner and Movie
Sue and I drove up to Marissa and Gary's Monday 12/29/14, and then we all went up in their car to Smitty's Cinema in Sandford, ME to see the new Hobbit movie. It was good being with the kids and sharing the evening. Smitty's is neat because you can get pub type food and beer and sit and watch the show. Very neat. The movie itself was hard to understand the dialog or really get what was going on unless you were a real Hobbit/Three Rings afficianado, but who cares! Great action and battle scenes with super special effects! How can you go wrong with hordes of Orcs charging across vast plains to collide with thousands of elves and other assorted folk? Well, you just can't!