2016 Rose Family Archives...
      For current events, go to the Rose family website page.

01/01/16: New Year's Day
Sue and I left around 11:00am Friday New Year's Day to pick her mom up in Tamworth, NH. It was a joint celebration: her Birthday, Christmas, and New Year's.

Sue did some snow shoveling around the walkway for her, and the two of us snow-raked the porch roof. We met Sue's brother Alan and his wife Joann at the Yankee Smokehouse at the junction of 16 and 25 for a nice lunch.

On the way home we stopped off at Sue's Aunt Carol's for a long visit.

01/02/16: To Gilford, NH
Sue and I drove up to Gilford, NH to check out a couple of properties. We grabbed a quick lunch in Alton Bay on the way back, glad that our feet have finally thawed out from tromping around in the snow and cold.

Sue called her friend Anita when we got home, and the two of them went off for a walk. When she got back, I lit a fire, and she parked it in the chair by the fireplace to read for awhile.

We started off the year's backgammon series, though I found the dice a cold bitch and ended the evening's play down 6 points. Making up for that humiliation was the really good 2010 movie, The Way Back.

01/03/16: Portland Science Center's Body Worlds
Sue had ordered 1:00pm 01/03/16 tickets for the Portland Science Center's presentation of Body Worlds. The exhibit says:
Through the specimens on display, visitors will gain profound insights into the structure and function of healthy and unhealthy bodies in a way that is not possible elsewhere on such a comprehensive scale.

Real human bodies show the details of disease, physiology and anatomy that cannot be shown with models. The specimens show the intricacies of the human body from within. They look as you would look without your skin!

There were literally hundreds of people standing in line to get in. Luckily, we had tickets, but it was still a fairly long wait in the 38F degree weather before they let the 1:00pm group into the lobby. But the wait was worth it. The exhibit was so interesting that it was something like 3:30pm by the time we left. And there was still a really long line of folks waiting to get in.
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It was pretty brisk walking around in Portland! But after the exhibit, Sue wanted to go to the top deck of the Casco Bay Parking Garage and get pictures of sunset over Portland. Good thing we didn't have to wait long as the breeze was just strong enough to gnaw through our jackets. Once we got walking around The Old Port, though, the shelter of the buildings blocked the wind so it was just cold.

On the way home, we stopped off in Biddeford, ME and had a great dinner at the Olive Garden. We splurged a little and had a wonderful bottle of Robert Mondavi Private Selection Cabernet to go with our food. A really nice finish to a busy day.

01/09/16: The Great 2016 Six Year Memorial Hip Replacement Party!
What better way to celebrate my 6 year anniversary from having my hip replaced 01/06/10 Current Picture than having The Great 2016 Six Year Memorial Hip Replacement Party!

Since I had planned to make a spicy Heal The Hip Chili, Sue thought it might be a great idea to see if anyone wanted to participate in a Heal The Hip Chili Cook-off.

Sue made corn bread for the meal and a great Egg Nog Cream Cheese Cake for desert.

We ended off the night with the second in the Divergent series, Insurgent;confusing and not well directed. Regardless, we'll have to see the next sequel.

01/13/16: Real Estate Course
Every 2 years I have to re-certify my N.H. Real Estate Broker license by taking a 3 hour Core couse.

For over 2 decades or so now, I've been doing this through the Ripaldi Real Estate School. As with this time, most of those have been held in Portsmouth at the Anckorage Inn at the traffic circle.

The bonus this year was that on the coldest day yet of the year, the heating system in the conference room was not working. We got to sit there in 54 F for 2.75 hours. Excellent. But... no one fell asleep!

01/16/16: Saturday Car Work, and Dinner, and a Movie Out
Saturday morning 01/16/16 at 9:00am, I headed out in a snowstorm for Auburn, NH to Synergy Auto Lab where Colin works.

We had picked this date to get my snow tires on, and do an oil and filter change. I could have used those snow tires on the way over! The weather was awful. Route 4 was almost not driveable, covered with a half inch of frozen slush with the snow coming down so hard at times that it was almost like driving through a light fog the visibility was so bad.

I called Colin to see how he was doing, and turns out he was just getting onto Route 125 South. I mentioned that I was stopping for coffee at the 4 and 125 circle. Since he was heading that way, we agreed to meet up and drive in together.

Route 125 South wasn't much better despite more traffic. I had hoped that when we got up on the main highway 101 heading West toward Manchester that would be better. It wasn't. It was awful. Speed was down to 40mph and at times 30mph. Of course, there's always some fool in a hurry with a big truck that rushes through on the right lane. There were many such fools out that morning....

With the 20 minute wait for Colin at the 4 and 125 circle coffee stop, the normal 48 minute drive that should have got me there around 10:15 took over a half hour more because of the horrible driving conditions. Of course, I just love weather like that. But, as I said, I could have loved it a lot more with snow tires. But that's New England: love it or leave it.

I ended up needing a new battery and new front breaks. After Colin finished all that up, I hung around until about 1:45. By then the weather had completely cleared. I made the drive into Portsmouth to food shop and pick up movie tickets in great time, arriving home at 3:45pm.

Colin and Ren showed up not long after that, and we headed out to the Olive Garden Italian Restaurant in Newingto for an early dinner. We wanted to be sure we got in and had time to relax and just chat. But it turned out not to be that busy for the normal early crowd push that begins around 5:00pm. That was probably because of the weather.

Anyway, we enjoyed a great meal, some nice wine, and wonderful sharing of time with Colin and Ren before heading off to Portsmouth Cinemagic Theaters out on Lafayette Road to catch the 7:00pm new Star Wars movie: The Force Awakens. Great stuff!

01/18/16: Monday Visit With Sue's Aunt Carol
Since it was Martin Luther King Jr Day, Sue had the day off from work. We took the opportunity to drive up to West Ossipee for a vist with her Aunt Carol.

Sue had made some American Chop Suey to take up with us for lunch. It was great seeing Carol again, and helping her out with getting her new modem and internet connection set up. She has done some extensive family history research on the internet, and this will enable her to continue with that.

01/22/16: Italian Dinner Cooking Class
For Christmas, Marissa, Gary, Colin, and Ren had given us a gift of taking a Classic Italian Dinner cooking class at The Culinary Playground in Derry, NH.

After Sue got home from work, we headed off thinking that the Friday commuter mess may slow us up. It's only 55 minutes to Derry in no traffic, and that's just about how long it took.

The class was so much fun, sharing the experience with just 3 other couples. It was so hands on that we made our own pasta from scratch. Sue and I had tried that awhile ago and what a mess that was! And we really had no clue as to what we were doing. But the instructions were so great that now we're looking forward to trying it on our own again.

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The menu was Homemade Pappardelle Noodles with Bolognese Sauce, Bibb Lettuce with Tarragon Vinaigrette, and Sweet Lemon Ricotta with Mixed Berry Compote and Almond Biscotti. And we were totally busy from the 6:30 start of class until finishing eating at 9:30!

01/30/16: In Which Sue and Gale Go Skiing and We Have a Party!
Sue and her friend Gale took off to go skiing at King Pine early Sunday morning. During the day, I went out and did the food shopping, carted a load of wood in and built a fire, and did some minor food prep work so that by the time they got back, I was ready to have a party!

We all had a nice chat while sipping some wine and cooking. While Sue put together the outstanding salad dressing that we had been taught to make at the 01/22/16: Italian Dinner Cooking Class, I made up a version of a dish that Marissa had made for me for my first 'real' meal after my 2010 hip replacement. I made seared scallops in a sherry, garlic, and basil pesto cream sauce over a bed of basil cooked linguine. Both came out just terrific, and we ended the night with the really well done new 2015 Tom Cruise movie, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation topped off with a lemon meringue pie and a quick shot of Kruskovac, a Croatian pear liqueur.

02/01/16: Retired
I have been planning to retire from my career as a senior business applications software developer within the next 2 or 3 years even though I really enjoy the work.

However, with the ending of my latest contract this past September, I thought I'd think of things in a different way: Instead of looking for another job so that I could then retire in a few years, I'd just retire now and look for a job.

I know, I know. It's the same thing. It's just that it feels so much better saying it that way!

So, I consider myself retired as of January 1, 2016. I waited until now, February 1, to announce it because I wanted to see if I'd get bored in retirement, revert to watching re-runs of Bonanza, get hit by a comet, become ill grazing on chocolate covered popcorn balls, or being abducted by aliens. Since none of that has happened, I'm staying retired.

02/06/16: The Great 2016 Pre Super Bowl Backgammon Tournament And Punters Legs Party!
Super Bowl weekend, so what better thing to do than host The Great 2016 Pre Super Bowl Backgammon Tournament And Punters Legs Party! — [my 100th get together!]

Because it was Super Bowl, most folks were busy getting ready for Current Picture or having their own party, or still digging out from the snow storm, so it was just a few of us.

But that never impacts having a party! Both Sue and I got in lots of backgammon because we had finished all of the prep work.

Sue had conjured up what she called Kick Off Brownie Bowl Sundaes, and they were terrific!

And I made Punters Legs, baked chicken legs over a bed of potatoes and kale seasoned with thyme and paprika. We finished up with the terrific 2015 movie, Everest.

02/13/16: Valentines Day Dinner Out With a Flat Tire For Desert
Even though we were experiencing some of the coldest temperatures in many years, Sue and I bundled up and took a late afternoon short walk around the school complexs. Man! Was it cold! The wind was howling and sending snow flurries swirrling everywhere. It was good we made this a short one!

Around 4:00pm we drove down to North Hampton to the L.L. Bean outlet to check out their winter sale. Some really nice things! I bought 2 really nice sweaters and a pair of wool socks, and a wonderful burgandy shawl sweater for Sue.

Sue had seen that The Galley Hatch had opened a new high end Greek restaurant in their building, Tinos Greek Kitchen. We thought it would be a nice evening out, so we scurried to the car through the artic blasts of wind blowing across the L.L. Bean parking lot, and headed over.

What a terrific place! Just spectacular! We almost didn't get in, though. Because it's a new restaurant, they were booked solid with reservations. The manager mentioned to the host to check the chef's table because he thought there were some open spots until 8:00pm. And sure enough, that was the case. We were all set!

We had the Valentines Day Chef Special, a rack of smoked Lamb with potatoes and mixed vegitables that was just amazing. The manager came over a couple of times to check on us. That was really nice of him. He was particularly engaging the first time our waitress had him come over to help us select a wine. We wanted a Greek wine, and were totally unfamiliar. He asked what we generally liked, and immediately pointed out a Paranga that turned out to be one of the smoothest, and flavorful wines I've had in a long time. It was a Syrah and Merlot blend.

He said he was off to Greece in the summer to see about negoiating becomming an importer of Greek Wines, so that will be exciting. As one of the oldest restaurants in the state, he mentioned that when he first started serving wines, New Hampshire only had about a dozen selections of Greek wines; now they have over 80 because of his influence. He's very hopeful that he will be able to work out this wine importing arrangement. We are too!

We left totally satisfied with everything about Tinos. The decor, staff, ambiance, wine, and of course the food were just the best. That's a go-back-to spot for sure!

When we got out to the car, Sue pulled an envelope out of the snow that had collected on the windshield. We thought it was some kind of ad, but it turned out to be this wonderful Valentines Day gift from a stranger warning us that out right rear tire was flat.

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And 'flat' was a very apt description. I didn't want to hog a space in the restaurant parking lot to change the tire, so I drove the short distance to the fire station lot. Holy crap-a-tation was it cold changing that tire!! I found out later that it was —27F degrees with the wind chill! Holy crap-a-tation!

Our very sincere thanks for the wonderful Valentines Day warning from our friend who left the note for us. It turned what could have been an ugly end to a wonderful dinner into wonderful adventure. Please know that your kind act will be paid forward by us some time, in some way, to someone else.

02/14/16: Valentines Day Kisses From Mia!

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02/14/16: Valentines Day Dinner
Sue and I have both wanted to try to replicate the Italian dinner we learned how to prepare when we went to The Culinary Playground in Derry, NH. Current Picture We had been so excited about it that I had bought a pasta machine so we could make our own pasta as we did that night.

I bought a bottle of a nice red blend to go with the Bolognese sauce that turned out to be a perfect compliment to the meal.

I figured that with all the prep work and making the pasta from scratch this was going to be about a 2 hour event. And that's just about what it turned out to be.

02/20/16: Mia Sprouts Her Second Tooth!
Marissa sent this great picture of Mia in the snow. She doesn't look too bad for just sprouting her second tooth.
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02/19/16: Friday Night Homemade Pizza!
Sue has been wanting to try making a Naan bread, chicken Caesar pizza for a long time, and so - with a fire going in the fireplace, and some Bach in the background - we went at it! Great fun! And the pizza came out just super, though we sort of feel the effort to make and roll out the Naan bread by hand was a time consuming.
02/20/16: Saturday Dinner Out and Play
Sue had seen that the community theater The Garrison Playhouse in Rollinsford, NH was featuring the play Almost Maine. She thought I'd enjoy it and that we should invite Colin and Ren along as it had been awhile since we had seen them.

We all met up at the 99 Restaurant at the Weeks Crossing in Dover for dinner at 5:30pm, and then headed over to the playhouse around 7:30pm for the 8:00pm showtime. A really fun night.

02/26/16: Friday Dinner Out at 3 Chimneys Tavern
Sue and I met up with our friend and my student Tom Toye at his new property in Durham, NH for a tour. What a great place! It sits on 14 acres with about a 3,000+ square foot home. There is also a huge barn that used to be the Mill Pond Theater.

Tom and his wife Nicole are totally going through it and renovating it. It's just a beautiful old farm style house. But, there's just a ton of work that's going to be done. We can hardly wait to be invited back in a few weeks to check out progress. And then again when it's done.

After closing up, we all drove over to the 3 Chimneys Inn where we met up with Nicole in the Tavern for dinner. The food was excellent, and we all had a great time. Have to do that again soon!

03/05/16: Lunch With Friends
Sue and I met up with Mary and Scott from Milford, NH for lunch at Kara's Irish Pub in Dover, NH. Sue had worked with Mary at Geskus Photography and they had stayed in touch since.

Neither of us had met Scott, so it was a really nice lunch. After, we drove over to Camera Commons to show them the current exhibit where Sue had qualified with one of her photographs.

03/0616: Lucas For Dinner
Lucas drove over from Bedford, NH to walk with Sue and then have dinner with us - a spaghetti squash that Sue and I worked on together as we sipped wine and listened to the incredible violin of Lindsey Stirling.
03/07/16: Rid of Microsoft Windows 10!
My friend Ric Carter drove down from Mechanics Falls, ME to rid my desktop computer of the evil Windows 10 and replace it with Linux Mint with a Wine wrapper which will enable 'reasonable' Windows programs to run on Linux.

However, my plans to run NinjaTrader as my currency trading platform have to change. In NinjaTrader's infinite wisdom, they completely locked themselves to Windows only platforms with a highly coupled use of programming in Microsoft's .NET and C# environment.

Ric had tried to install NinjaTrader on a Linux implementation that he has, and not only didn't it work, but it totally destroyed his Linux operating system to the point that he had to do a total reinstall of Linux. Terrific. But it just shows how Microsoft is doing everything it can to keep folks from using other tools. I'll most likely switch my trading platform to Oanda's fxTrader which is written in Java and will run natively in Linux.

Look, if all you're using is email, writing documents and spreadsheets, and browsing the web then Windows is fine. But if you're a developer, you'll find very quickly the limitations of building platform independent applications using Windows tools. I watched both DEC (Digital Equipment Corp) and Wang try to pull that by making everything they did totally propitiatory. And when everyone woke up and we went into a recession, I watched as both companies went from over a hundred thousand employees each to less than 10% of that and finally out of business.

03/10/16: Tom Toye Passes Green Belt Karate Exam
My friend and now karate student Tom Toye took and passed his 5th Degree Green Belt Exam at Thursday night's class. Pretty tough test, but he came through just fine. Current Picture

After, we all went up to Applebee's at the Weeks Circle in Dover, NH to celebrate. But, we'd have done that anyway. As I mentioned in my email announcing the exam: "Pass or fail, we celebrate. Euphoria or injury, we celebrate before hospital. Always. "

03/13/16: Austin's 19th Birthday Party
Sue and I headed down to the Bowl-A-Rama in Portsmouth, NH to celebrate with the House family Austin's 19th birthday.

And yes, I managed to toss a few balls down the lane Current Picture in a lame attempt to knock pins down.

I was just sort of getting my timing down when it was time for pizza. And nothing gets in the way of that!

03/16/16: Visit to Old Orchard Farm in Madbury, NH
Sue and I met Marissa, Gary, and Mia at Old Orchard Farm in Madbury, NH 03/16/16 to see the sheep Current Picture and lambs and to buy some of their maple syrup.

When we got there, farmhand Tanner was overseeing a problem with one of the sheep, and so we just wandered around for awhile.

When things stabilized, Tanner showed us around and then opened the maple shack so that we could get a jar of their maple syrup.

03/17/16: Decaying Gracefully With Age....
Well, it's been 3 years since I changed my glasses so had an appointment today to check it all out. And, yup, it's time to upgrade.

03/19/16: The Great 2016 St Patrick's Day Backgammon Tournament And Green Bangers Delight Party!
Saturday 03/19/16 Sue and I held our 101st backgammon dinner party: The Great 2016 St Patrick's Day Backgammon Tournament And Green Bangers Delight Party!

We had a great turn out but did a little more socializing than we did backgammon. Current Picture However, Sue managed to play both Scott and Tim.

That saved the party from not having any games played, though she and I did play a couple of games before the party started. I suppose that would have counted....

I fixed just a ton of Irish Bangers and Mash, and sue put together a really tasty batch of Bailey's Irish Cream brownies. Those brownies were a real hit, particularly with a big glob of vanilla ice cream on the side.

03/21/16: First Day of Spring Winter Snow Storm!
Woke up this morning to about 6 inches of snow that built to probably 7 or 8 Current Picture inches by the time it was done.

By mid afternoon, the sun had sucked most of it up, leaving only about 2 inches on the ground.

03/23/16: An 80th Birthday Party!
Sue and I drove up to Ossipee, NH Wednesday 03/23/16 to celebrate Sue's Aunt Carol's 80th birthday.

Sue shopped for everything Monday so that when she got home from work Wednesday we could just head up there. I fixed an Italian Hunters Chicken dish that came out just great. For her present, we gave her money to complete her membership registration in the Pilgrim Society.

03/24/16: Mia at 9 months
And here she is, Miss Mia just beginning to stand at her 9th month!

I told Marissa that once she gets walking, she'd be all Current Picture over the place and tough to keep up with. Marissa said she could hardly wait.

Yeah, Marissa. Sure-sure.... That one's going to run you to the ground when she gets moving!

03/27/16: Easter Sunday in Tamworth, NH
Sue and I drove up to her niece Tracy's house in Tamworth, NH for Easter Sunday with the family.

There was more food there than humans could consume, but enough people to make a huge effort trying! So nice to see everyone, and to gather together to share that time with Sue's family.

04/01/16: House Hunting and Dinner With the Toyes
Tom drove Sue and I up to West Alton, NH to look at a post and beam house close to Lake Winnipesaukee. Part of the showing was the agent directing us down a semi washed out path down to a secluded beach on one of Winnipesaukee's many inlets.

Along the path, Sue spotted what appeared to be moose tracks. Great. An f'n moose roaming around is not the city-boy's idea of anything I'd care to run into without a 16 gage (or grenade launcher), locked and loaded....

After that, Tom showed us his new house just about a mile further up Route 11. What a neat place that is! It's at the end of a dirt road with about half acre and private beach and dock. I think if we'd have had a six of beer and some pizza, we'd have just stayed right there....

Well, that is until Tom got a text message from a friend of his that she attached a picture of a moose she had just seen about 30 minutes before right down the road from Tom's place! We figured it was the same moose we saw tracks of at the house we had been at. Yikes.....

After all that, I was ready to get some dinner! It only took us about a half hour to get to Dante's Italian Restaurant on Route 125 in Barrington and meet up with his wife Nicole. We all had a great time visiting. Oh, and making fun of city-boy's close encounter with a moose....

04/13/16: Karate Clinic in Meredith, NH
My student and friend Tom Toye picked Sue and me up at 3:30pm to drive up to Meredith, NH to my long time student and disciple Master Russ Jones karate club.

Though the karate clinic I was holding wasn't until 7:00pm, we wanted time to stop and grab a quick bite to eat at Patrick's Pub in Gilford before meeting with Master Jones at his holistic care office at 5:00pm.

We were all having Master Jones run his new muscle testing program on us to give him practice. He had just returned from becoming certified in this to use as a great addition to his Shiatsu Asian Body Work and Yoga programs that he offers in addition to his karate programs.

04/14/16: Condo Painting Project Finished
Paul Pollaro was able to finish up painting our living and dining rooms as well as the entryway hall today, Thursday 04/14.

It was time for a change after 12 years of the wonderful faux Tuscan rust and gold faux finish that I had put on at the painful rate of 3 feet and hour back in 2004.

04/15/16: Weekend in Plymouth, NH
Sue and I did a weekend trip to Plymouth, NH Friday 04/15/16 to check the area out. We headed out after Sue got home from work, and had an enjoyable drive over, hardly hitting any traffic.

Saturday morning was geared toward walking around the downtown area, and the river front park. We were trying to get a sense of the town; it's 'feel'.

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We headed north out of town at around 11:30 on Route 175 toward Campton, NH where we were to meet our real estate agent Kim at the first listing of the day.

After a long day, we headed back to the room to have some wine and shake off the dust with some backgammon before we went to the Italian Farmhouse for dinner.

We headed out early Sunday morning for home via Routes 175 and 113 to Rattlesnake Mountain on Squam Lake. Sue had wanted me to see that so we hiked up the west side. Unbelievable! Next time I'm bringing a lounge chair, book, and lunch and I'm just staying! That was a nice cap off for the weekend for sure.

04/19/16: Dover Public Library Presentation
Sue and I headed over to the Dover Public Library for a 7:00pm travel presentation on a fisherman's view of Montana and Yellowstone National Park. That really looks like beautiful country! Maybe some day....

04/24/16: Photographer Sue At Work!
If I ever lose track of Sue, I know I can always find her down at the beach....

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Photographer Sue at rest.

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Photographer Sue setting up the shot.

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Photographer Sue capturing her interpretation of a "butt-hole".

04/30/16: Photography Adventure to Manchester, NH
Sue and I met up with our friends Scott and Mary at the Manchester Riverwalk Park in Manchester, NH Saturday 04/30/16.

Sue used to work with Mary at Geskus Photography, and Scott is also a photographer. I was surrounded by photographers! Sue was picking Scott's brain about camera settings as he has not only a great technical knowledge, but also the ability to teach it to someone. Heck, even I learned a lot just listening to the two of them chatting back and forth.

Between locations, we stopped in for a drink at the Stark Brewing Company. It's a really cute place, and the photographer's all had a great time composing shots of the beer mugs hanging on racks behind the bar.

After the pub, Sue and Mary wanted to take some pictures of the railroad tracks behind the New Hampshire Fisher Cats stadium before the sun dropped too far. There was an old abandoned station that was really interesting, and even though Sue, Mary, and I got back to the car, Scott was still snapping away at it for awhile.

Once he got back to the car, we drove over to one of our favorite restaurants: Cafe Momo. It was Scott and Mary's frist time there, so we had to sample a whole selection of things. Great time, and great food!

05/01/16: Northeast Sea Glass Expo in Hampton, NH
My niece Mary Liz had flown up from Frederick, MD for a few days to visit her sister Lori in Eliot, ME. I had suggested that we all get together for breakfast Sunday morning 05/01/16, and then go to the Northeast Sea Glass Expo at the Ashworth Hotel on Hampton Beach.

We had a terrific time with them both. We met them in Hampton for breakfast at Fast Eddies Diner, and then went over to the expo. Sue has been collecting sea glass forever and has a box of it that we both went through just the other day.

05/07/16: The Great 2016 Cinco De Mayo Backgammon Tournament And Border Line Casserole Party!
Sue and I had friends over 05/05/16 for The Great 2016 Cinco De Mayo Backgammon Tournament And Border Line Casserole Party!

For the main course I fixed a Mexican Casserole, and Sue made a terrific mojito pie for desert. Everything turned out just great.

Before the party, I had looked at the recipe and felt I only had about 40 minutes of prep work to do. Since the party was to start at 5:00 pm and I wanted to be free to play some backgammon, I thought I'd start chopping around 4:30 pm.

Good thing I started then! Holy smokes was I in for more work than I had thought! As soon as I started I knew I was in for a longer haul.... And Sue wasn't around to help me out. She had gone up to spend the day with her mom in Tamworth, NH. So, I popped a long neck of Corona and got to it.

And I didn't finish with it all until almost 6:00 pm. But I did get to play both Tim and Sue a couple games each before I had to go back and finish things up. We had a great meal, and then closed up the night with the 2013 movie, Star Trek Into Darkness. Unfortunately, I was so busy with all the prep work taking so long that I totally spaced out on taking any pictures!

05/08/16: Mother's Day
Sue headed out around 11:00 am to meet up with her kids Jill and Lucas at the Tower Hill Botanic Gardens in Boylston, MA for a Mother's Day picnic that Jill had prepared and brought with her.

I started prep work for the Chicken and Shrimp in Tomato-Coconut Sauce Mother's Day dinner that I was making for Sue at about 4:30 pm after Sue called and said they were on the way. It was great that I'd have a chance to see Lucas as he was coming by for dinner before heading back home to Bedford, NH.

I had loosened the cork on a bottle of Stags Leap Chardonnay that I had bought for the occasion, but I the patience to wait until they got here. I did sip on another Chardonnay while I toiled at my chef stuff, but once they hit the door at a little after 6:00 pm, we got right into that Stags Leap. And it was wonderful. You just have to spend about $20 to get a decent Chardonnay that doesn't taste thin of fruity.

We had a slice of mojito pie before Lucas had to head back home, and then we went in to watch the 2013 movie Joy before turning in. Busy, busy weekend!

05/11/16: Missed Lacrosse Game!
I read Marissa's game schedule wrong and thought that her Lacrosse team was playing Dover at Dover High School. Sue and I drove over to catch it and to cheer her on but they were no where to be found!

Turns out that they were playing Dover, but playing them as a home game at Spaulding High School in Rochester. We'd have gone up there for that, but it was already 40 minutes into the game.

Sue wanted to find and then take pictures of some field lilies she had spotted along the road last weekend, and so we headed off to do that. And, since it was a nice day, we did drive-bys of a couple of houses of interest.

By the time we got done driving around it was around 6:30 pm. Since we were headed back to Dover over Route 9, we just went south on Route 125 and stopped for a beer and burger at Frank Jones Restaurant for dinner. Man, that was good!

05/14/16: Portland, ME Adventure
Sue and I drove up to Portland, ME Saturday afternoon at 3:30 pm for an early dinner at Maria's Italian Restaurant on Cumberland Street. Neither of us had been there before, but had heard that it was good. Current Picture Sue had Groupon coupons, and so this was a great time to check it out!

And we certainly weren't disappointed in the food, service or decor. Sue's meal, a scrumptious Italian sausage cacciatore, was outstanding. We had a wonderful bottle of Banfi Chianti Classico Riserva with our meal, and enjoyed ourselves.

After dinner we drove over to Fort Williams Park and Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth, ME. I had never been out to Portland Head Light before and was excited to see what that was all about. Sue got some nice pictures, the one shown here she calls more of a "tourist shot", but I thought it shows what a really nice view there is of Casco Bay from there.

05/20/16: Tim and Cindy for dinner
Sue and I had mentioned to Tim and Cindy back in February that my mom had always fixed a special German ox tail dish for New Years. Tim thought that an interesting thing, and offered that he'd be up for trying it and that he had a special bottle of wine just for the occasion.

Unfortunately, timing just didn't work out until this Friday to do it! But I special ordered the ox tails, and after picking them up in Portsmouth started all the prep work around 2:30 pm. Whew! That "prep work" took me until 5:30 pm! Well, there was some pre-wine samppling, and searching for music to play - lots of Bach and then one of Rod Stewart's collections of the American Standards.

They arrived around 6:00 pm just as Sue and I were finishing up a hotly contested series of backgammon games. We wasted no time getting out onto the deck, and starting the party! A really good time!

05/21/16: Nephew Scott ordained as a deacon
Scott's wife Mary Liz sent this picture of the family gathered to celebrate Scott's ordination as deacon: Current Picture

An article, "Path to diaconate blazed by father" written in the Catholic Review May 13, 2016 (Paul McMullen pmcmullen@CatholicReview.org) has a wonderful interview of Scott.

05/28/16: Memorial Day Weekend Wedding
Saturday 05/28/16 Sue and I celebrated our friends (and my student) Steve and Becca's wedding. It was so far the brightest and hottest day of the year, so a great day for a celebration!

05/29/16: Almost Kayaking....
Sue and I have been trying to take our first kayaking trip on Memorial Day weekend for the last few years. But when we woke up, it was chilly and overcast with a damp sort of breeze.

We decided instead to drive out to Northwood, NH, do a drive-by of a house on Bow Lake, take a walk at Northwood Meadows State Park, and then do our food shopping at the Northwood Hannaford's market.

I had just finished reading Master Chef James Haller's 2002 book "Vie De France: Sharing Food, Friendship and a Kitchen in the Lorie Valley." What a terrific book! As I wrote in my Amazon review:

"I learned how to cook from Chef Haller back in the 1970s just after both of our businesses opened in Portsmouth, NH. Haller writes exactly the way he talks. Reading his stories about his time in France with his friends makes you feel like you are right there with him. Oh, sure, some have commented about how dry it is to read about every walk he takes and every carrot he peels. But I think those folks missed the point. As do those who thought it might be a cook book. It's a book about Chef Haller reflecting back on his life of creativity with a group of friends. It has no plot or any other point than his expression of his celebration of life. Thanks, Buddy. I'm glad that I got to see parts of that as both customer, friend, and inept student. And I hope your story inspires others to take time out to reflect back on their lives - regardless of their struggles - and to celebrate."

In the book, Chef Haller includes the menu for every night he cooked as well as just about how he did it. And so, as today's weather was chilly, I decided to try his oven recipe for his "Roast Pork in Red Wine with Carrots, Potatoes, and Green Beans." Outstanding!

And, because it was so raw out due to the coming rain, we had what will probably be our last fire in the fireplace here. While dinner was baking in the oven, Sue and I watched the fire, sipped a rather pleasant bottle of 2012 Chateau St Jean Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County, played backgammon, and listened to Michael Jackson's This is It, Neil Young's Greatest Hits, and Norah Jones Feels Like Home with dinner.

We finished off the evening with the 2016 movie adaptation of Nicholas Sparks book The Choice, another really terrific Sparks inspired film.

05/30/16: Memorial Day
I sent an email out today to many of my friends and students: "Let's all remember why this is called Memorial Day." I think that pretty much sums up how I feel.

06/04/16: Historic Homes Open House
To start the day, Sue had wanted to walk over at Kingman Farm, so I jumped in the car with her as my back was really sore and in need of some loosening up. But the parking area on Route 155 was packed and the entrance to Town Hall Road was blocked off by the police as there were games going on in all the fields, and traffic and people were everywhere!

I suggested the Doe Farm hiking trail off Bennett Road in Durham, so Sue pointed the car in that direction and we were off! We did just over a mile and three quarters walking through the woods and along the Lamprey River to the railroad bridge and back to the parking area.

We came back to the house to clean up and get the shopping list for the week done before heading out on our next adventure of the day.

There are 36 homes that are owned and have been restored by Historic New England. Current Picture Sue had wanted to visit at least one of them today - Saturday - because it was their yearly open house at the start of their season.

We decided on The Jackson House in Portsmouth, NH because I had never even heard of it, and I had lived in Portsmouth for 14 years!

Good decision as it is not only the oldest wood frame house in New Hampshire (1664), but care had been taken to not restore any of it, leaving it in the same bare wood and walls condition it was when first constructed in 1664.

After leaving the house, we went down to another place I had never known about: a boat launch at the end of Marsh Street onto North Mill Pond. Never heard of it, and I owned a building almost right next to Marsh Street! It's nothing special, but just a neat discovery to make.

Sue was all cranked up then and ready for more discoveries! She had talked with the receptionist at Current Picture The Jackson House who had recommended the 1807 Rundlet-May House on Middle Street, not far from where we were. Again, never heard of it! So, off we went!

We walked around the grounds, filled with flower gardens, for 15 minutes until the next tour began at 2:30 pm. It was a really interesting house to see mainly because the owner started from basically nothing and became the 10th richest man in Portsmouth.

It was 3:15 pm when the tour ended, and Sue wanted to stop by Home Depot. She needed to pick up some herbs for a potted herb garden she was making for Steve and Becca who would be back on Tuesday.

We swung by Shaws to do the weeks food shopping because they had a big sale going on. It had been awhile since we had tried Cup Cake wines, and these were really priced down. I bought a bottle of Cabernet to have tonight, and a bottle of Chardonnay to have with the Atlantic Cod that Sue planned to fix in a lush salsa mix for Sunday's dinner.

When we got home, I opened the Cabernet and we sat out on the deck playing backgammon until around 6:30. The mosquitoes were getting a little pesky and so we ate dinner inside. We finished off the night with the pleasant 2000 true movie, The Dish.

06/05/16: Sunday in the Rain....
It wasn't long after we got up and had breakfast that it began to rain. The weather reports had warned of this; that's why we took advantage of the beautiful Saturday to be out and about.

For dinner, Sue fixed a terrific Baked Sweet Potato Crusted Atlantic Cod with Fruit Salsa with a Quinoa Salad mix. We had the bottle of Cup Cake Chardonnay as we played backgammon and with dinner. Not bad - as was the case for the Cabernet we had Saturday night.

06/09/16: Get Together With Scott
After karate class everyone hung around so that we could have a short get together for my disciple 3rd Degree Black Belt Scott Williams who is moving to North Carolina on the 22nd. Sue had made up a platter of Cuban Sliders that we washed down with some celebratory beer. I won't see Scott now again until this year's October Annual Disciple Retreat.

06/10/16: Lupine Festival in Sugar Hill, NH
Sue and I drove up for the annual Lupine Festival in Sugar Hill, NH today, 06/10/16. In particular, we wanted to see the "Inspirational Walk" on a Current Picture specially mowed path through the Sugar Hill Sampler Lupine Fields, with poetry along the way.

Sue knows the area and just made me dizzy with all the turns and places we went to. She'd lock up the brakes and hop out for some shot. The lupines were everywhere. But the main display was on Sugar Hill road itself on a huge field across from The Sugar Hill Sampler.

The Sugar Hill Sampler, an over 200 year old barn the owner's ancestors built, is worth the visit alone. But their mowing of paths through their fields and staking numerous poetic quotes along the way was just such a wonderful experience. Sue and I wandered around through all of the trails, reading the quotes, and snapping pictures. A great time.

06/11/16: The Great 2016 Twelve Years At The Garrison Final Backgammon Tournament And Top Gun Stew!
Sue and I hosted our next and final open house backgammon party on Saturday June 11, The Great 2016 Twelve Years At The Garrison Final Backgammon Tournament And Top Gun Stew!. Current Picture We celebrated 12 years here at the Garrison, actually moving in on June 11, 2004.

I started food prep work around 3:30 pm because the Top Gun Stew was actually Spaghetti Bolognese in recognition of the first dinner I cooked for these backgammon parties. And Sue did up a special desert for us, a really satisfying Peach Cobbler with some vanilla ice cream on top. I was sooooo stuffed I could hardly move after dinner. And, the next day as well!

The movie of the night was Top Gun, as that was what we watched at the first party back in 2004 The Great 2004 Labor Day Backgammon Tournament And Spaghetti Feed 09/04/04! What better way to go out than this, and our 103 rd backgammon party!

06/17/16: Celebration Visit to Frederick, MD
Sue and I flew out to Baltimore Friday morning 06/17/16 to visit with and celebrate both my brother's and my birthdays and ours and my nephew Scott's Father's Day.

Alan picked us up at Baltimore's BWI airport, and drove us to their Current Picture condo in Parkville, MD. Abbie was there when we arrived, and we all had a lovely time chatting away.

Since Scott was picking us up to go to his house in Frederick, MD at 7:30 pm, we all headed over to one of the community's restaurants for dinner around 5:00 pm..

Saturday, at 3:30 pm I volunteered Scott to be my assistant, and together the two of us managed to get the Cornish Game Hens with green beans onto the table at 7:00 pm - about an hour longer than I had hoped. But look, we all had a great time!

Sunday morning, after Mary Liz fixed another round of omelets that we enjoyed with coffee, sitting around the dining room table and chatting, she drove us back to the airport. Too short of a visit! But so nice to have been able to spend that time with Scott and Mary Liz.

06/19/16: Cookout at Marissa's
We got back from the airport Sunday around 3:30 pm, unpacked, took a breath, and then headed over to Marissa and Gary's in Rochester for a joint birthday celebration Current Picture for Marissa and me as well as Father's Day for Gary and me.

It was a beautiful day to sit out on their deck, sip a beer, and chat while Marissa cooked up spiced chicken on the grill.

Mia was all over the place, particularly in her new water table shaped like a pirate ship.

06/21/16: Holistic Treatments and Dinner Out
Sue and I drove up to Meredith, NH Tuesday 06/21/16 to Sol Acupuncture & Sachem Shiatsu for some first time experience in these holistic arts.

While Heidi worked her acupuncture on me, Sue was in with my karate disciple of almost 30 years, 5th Degree Black Belt King Snake Master Russell Jones for Shiatsu. After an hour, we swapped practitioners so each of us could experience both arts. What a terrific afternoon!

After finishing up at Sol, all of us drove up to Walters Basin restaurant in Holderness, NH where we had a terrific dinner and conversation.

06/24/16: Happy 1st Birthday Mia!

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06/26/16: Mia's 1st Birthday Party
Marissa had a gigantic birthday party celebrating for Mia Sunday 06/26/16. It was just the most perfect day! Gary had set up 2 tents in the back yard, and there were several large umbrellas shading the above ground pool area to keep folks out of the hot sun.
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And there were little-ones everywhere! I commented to Marissa that in a few years, it was really going to be interesting with all the young-ens flying around all over the place. And.... splashing in the pool!

Sue and I had got Mia a bright red Radio Flyer Classic Red Wagon that Marissa used to stack a bunch of Mia's gifts in. Mia was oblivious to the gifts; her preference was to chew on the envelops her cards came in. But I'm sure as the weeks go by she'll have a great time investigating all of the toys she was given.

06/29/16: Dinner with Colin and Ren
Colin had wanted to get together for Father's day but with the death of his very close friend Corey, we just weren't able to connect. I had called him about some strange sounds my car was making and so he and Ren asked us up for dinner and a look at the car.

All the car needed was some steering fluid. That was nice that it didn't take him long to add that and to spray wash the under-hood area so we had more time to visit and have a casual dinner that Ren had fixed for us. So good to be with them both and share some time together.

07/02/16: Party at Tracy's in Ossipee, NH
Sue's niece Tracy had stopped by the house a few days ago to drop off some things for Sue and had invited us up to her house in Ossipee, NH for a small family gathering for the 4th of July.
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It couldn't have been a prettier summer day than it was. We sat out on the deck, and ate more food than we should have, and had a wonderful time just relaxing and catching up with everyone.

07/03/16: Kayak For the 4th!
Sunday morning 07/03/16 Sue and I threw the kayaks on top of my car and headed over to the Bellamy Reservoir in Barrington, NH around 11:00 am Sunday morning.

Though really hot, the brisk breeze kept us refreshed as we paddled our way north along the west shore. We figured we'd rather fight the wind when we were fresh so that we could coast back later in the day.

That turned out to be a good decision because by 4:30 pm when we hauled the kayaks we were pretty pooped out!

It was a struggle landing too because the reservoir water level had dropped quite a bit from all the heat. That had left the haul out area a deep, thick, and muddy mess.

After getting back home and showering, we went out onto the deck, had a little wine, and played backgammon until dinner.

07/04/16: 4th of July Naturalization Ceremony
Sue and I drove to Portsmouth, NH Monday July 4th to the Strawbery Banke Museum to watch the 11:00 am United States Naturalization Ceremony.

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It was a beautiful hot summer day as we watched 96 immigrants from 52 countries and 5 continents accept their responsibilities for United States citizenship.

The oath was given by New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen with a great speech given by the 84th Portsmouth Naval Shipyard commander Captain William Greene.

After the ceremony, we spent the next 3 hours visiting all of the historically preserved homes in the 10 acre living history museum. Strawbery Banke, on the site of what was formerly the Puddle Dock area of Portsmouth, is one of the reasons Portsmouth has become a destination tourist area.

We stopped briefly on the way home to pick up some items for dinner at the Hannafords on Route 108. It didn't take us long to get out on the deck with the backgammon board to enjoy another beautiful summer's day!

07/05/16: Mid Week Break at the Lake
After work Tuesday 07/05, Sue and I drove up to Tom and Nichole's vacation house on Lake Winnipesaukee.

It was a spectacularly beautiful day to enjoy chatting on the enclosed porch, and then have burgers and dogs off the grill with a little wine outside on one of their picnic tables.

After eating, the four of us, Nichole's brother John, and 4 hyped up kids headed out on Tom's boat.

We got a little off shore, the kids jumped off the boat and onto the towing raft, and we were off! What a great time watching them screaming and bouncing around in the wake as Tom arched the boat out and around a couple of small off shore islands.

07/12/16: Holistic Health and Dinner in Meredith, NH
After Sue got home from work, we drove up to Sol Acupuncture and Sachem Shiatsu in Meredith, NH. While Sue had an acupuncture session with Heidi, my karate disciple Master Russ Jones did some of his magic Shiatsu therapy with me.

On the way up, we had been amazed at the traffic around the Meadowbrook Pavilion and Patrick's Pub & Eatery where we were planing on eating later. But we didn't finish up with the sessions until almost 7:00 pm, and with the show starting around then, we didn't think it'd be an issue.

It wasn't, and we got seated almost immediately. However, the traffic coming up from the South was at a total standstill for as far as you could see. I'm sure every one of the 10,000 seats were sold out as well as camping on the grass to see John Mayer.

But it's probably somewhat as busy for most of the events. We'll have to keep the possibility of this in mind anytime we're thinking of heading that way for sure! Of course, by the time we finished dinner and were on the road, it was totally clear in both directions. But... wouldn't want to bet that when the show lets out!

07/15/16: Jim and Chris Visit for Dinner
My 30 plus year karate disciple Master Jim Nancarrow and his wife Chris were up from their home in Florida visiting relatives this past week.

Jim visited us at class on Thursday evening, and then he and Chris came for a lovely dinner Friday night.

It was great seeing them, and hearing their stories of the retired life in Florida!

We kept joking with them that their blood had probably thinned out so much that normal New Hampshire weather, even in the Summer, would be chilly for them.

But this hadn't been 'normal' with temps in the 90s. So, they were just fine with sitting out on the deck and chatting before dinner, which we did inside.

After they left, we watched the 2010 movie: Across the Line: The Exodus of Charlie Wright, which could have been done so much better. Though an interesting plot with a compelling cast, it was confusing to follow, and very mix-paced at the wrong times. Too bad, because I was really looking forward to a good flick....

07/16/16: Kayaking in South Berwick, ME
Sue had suggested that we go kayaking today as it was supposed to rain Sunday. Jill and Lucas were coming for a visit and dinner Sunday, so it would be too busy then anyway.

We started out heading toward Murdock Lake in Berwick, ME, but Sue spotted some kayakers on the Salmon Falls River as we crossed the Current Picture bridge on Route 4 into South Berwick. We looked at each other, and said at the same time: "An Explore!"

We had the kayaks in the water in no time; the sound of the falls echoing everywhere. It wasn't too far down the river that we stopped to admire this beautiful series of old farm buildings, most filled with freshly cut hay rolled into giant yellow-wheat colored bundles.

The whole river was spectacular. There were lots of interesting spots to check out, and plenty of shady areas along the banks to stop and cool off. Surprisingly, it wasn't oppressively hot. Maybe the temps didn't hit as high as projected, or maybe it was the really nice - sometimes brisk - breeze that made the air pleasant.

07/17/16: Jill and Lucas For Dinner!
Sue and I were excited when both Jill and Lucas said they could come and share dinner with us Sunday night!

Sue fixed a parsley and panco seasoned pan seared cod, and I did a medley of herb stir fried greens with basil, garlic, and scallions, along with a side of sautéed yellow squash and sweet red pepper that we enjoyed with a gentle bottle of Pinot Noir that Jim and Chris had brought with them when they came over.

07/22/16: Celebration Dinner Out
Sue and I met up with her co-worker Dennis and his wife Karen at The Oaks Golf Course restaurant to celebrate her and Dennis' 2 years on the job. It was great to finally meet Dennis and his wife. We had lots of fun, and thought maybe we should do this on a 6 month basis because you just never know how long working there will last....

07/23/16: Sue and Gale To Beach
Gale came over late Saturday morning and she and Sue headed off for a day at the beach. They had originally planned to go kayaking, but though the temperature was in the 90s, thunderstorms were threatened. They figured the beach was a better plan.

I had just started the dinner prep work when they came dragging back from the heat. Sue whipped up some mango margaritas for the two of them while I started the bottle of Cabernet Gale had brought. But, just as they headed for the deck it started to rain.

And what a thunderstorm it was! The rain came down in bucketfuls, though it really cooled the air off nicely. While they chatted in the living room, I pressed on with dinner: an interesting chicken in tomatoes and coconut sauce that Sue had found a couple years back in Food and Wine Magazine that she really liked.

We finished off the evening with what turned out to be the terrific 2016 movie, London Has Fallen.

08/06/16: Sunday Dinner Out
Sunday, Sue and I took her son Lucas out to a local Thai restaurant to celebrate his birthday. It was his pick, and he chose his favorite, Khaophums Fine Thai Restaurant here in Dover, NH.

Before heading off to dinner, Sue and Lucas went over to one of the local preserves for a short walk as the weather was just so perfect for that.

08/13/16: Vacation to Nova Scotia
Sue and I headed out on Saturday 08/13/16 for an 8 day vacation and genealogical research project to Nova Scotia. We sailed out of Portland, ME on The CAT ferry to Yarmouth where we picked up a rental car and spent the night at The Lakelawn Motel and Cottages.

We selected Nova Scotia for our first exploration of Canada because Prince Edward Island is just a little too pastoral for my taste, and we didn't have the time to really investigate north of Halifax. We would like to go back, though, and see Cape Breton and the Sydney area at some point; this trip was more for Nova Scotia genealogical fun than anything.

Over the whole trip, we both preferred the south shore of Nova Scotia over the north shore. Because we really enjoy the type of scenery along the coast of Maine north of Portland, we found it very similar to driving east along the south shore of Nova Scotia.

The northern shore is predominately French (whereas the south is Scottish) and is more sparse with relatively no "quaint" fishing villages for tourists. It's on the Bay of Fundy, which is a pretty rough place to make a living, and everything there reflects that.

08/26/16: Surprise Birthday Celebration for Neil
Colin had called earlier to invite us to go out on the boat and raft up with Neil's new boat Puffin and celebrate Neil's 80th birthday.

He picked us up at 6:15pm, and drove us down to Roger's. Ren was already there and had stopped and picked up subs and water to have later. Isaac was bringing a small cake so things were looking good! We had hoped to see Issac's mom and dad out there, but they didn't get back in time. However, Tom and Doreen pulled up in their boat to join us.

We had a great time, 3 boats rafted up in the cove with Neil's Puffin celebrating a great milestone with a great friend. When the Colin and Marissa were young growing up on the water, they used to hop off the end of our dock, swim out to Neil's boat Ming, and spend hours jumping off the bow and harassing Neil as he worked on some project.

It was so nice to see Neil. We had missed him last year when he was up with Ming. So, this was a really special visit so we could see his new boat. So glad Colin had called as Neil is heading south in the next couple of weeks.

08/27/16: Cirque du Soleil
Saturday 08/27/16 we headed out to see Cirque du Soleil Ovo in Manchester, NH. Sue had spotted this and organized a group outing for us, Lucas and Jill, Marissa and Gary, and my 1st Degree Black Belt student Eleanne Solorzano and her daughter Michaela. Colin and Ren weren't able to make it because as we were driving over to Manchester for the show, they were on their way to a wedding on Long Island.

Since we were all coming from different directions, Sue and I decided to head over early and just kick around Elm street for awhile. Sue spotted an ice cream shop, and that was a treat in the heat blanket that had settled over the area.

The show itself was wonderful. I think Michaela is all set to join up; she was full of questions about what you had to do to be a member. I'm sure that she'll be wanting to go to the next show that comes around.

After the show, most of us drove over to the terrific little Nepalese restaurant, Cafe Momo, on Hanover Street for dinner. Cafe Momo is one of Sue and my favorite 'different' restaurants. We all had a great time, and we got back home just after 9:00 pm. Great day!

09/01/16: Rod Stewart Concert
I had bought tickets as a surprise gift for us to see Rod Stewart at The Meadowbrook in Laconia, NH Thursday evening 09/01/16. My karate disciple Russ Jones and Heidi, who were going with us, offered dinner at their house before going over, and then to spend the night.

We left home about 4:15 pm, rushing out the door as soon as Sue got home from work, and got up to Russ and Heidi's at 5:30 pm. We had a great time seeing their house for the first time, and chatting over a glass of wine until dinner on the front porch.

At 71, Rod Stewart is still rocking it out. He sang for almost 2 hours with a short 20 minute break, and it was just terrific. We had hoped that he might sing some of his recent works from the American Songbook series, but he filled the night with old hit after hit.

Friday morning, after having a great breakfast with Russ and Heidi, we headed out to do some property drive-bys in Laconia, Sanbornton, and up to Meredith; about 6 places. What sounds good in a property description certainly has to be taken with a grain of salt. Once again, we were disappointed in all of them. But that's okay. It's all part of the process.

From Meredith, we drove to Sue's brother Alan's camp on Ossipee Lake. We had a great time visiting with Alan and Joanne, and had a wonderful cookout on the grill overlooking the lake. We stayed listening to the wavelets lapping on the beach, and the distant cry of a loon until dusk.

09/04/16: Muffins For Neal on Puffin
Sue and I drove over to the Great Bay Yacht Club and met up with Neal who rowed in to shore from his new boat Puffin. Sue had baked some muffins for him, and had gotten him a plant for the boat to keep him company.

While we stood chatting, we met many of the club members. What was so sweet was that when Neal introduced me as Colin's dad, they all commented on what a great guy Colin was, and how much they all respected him. And each one mentioned how they had enjoyed watching him, his sister Marissa, and all of the "River Rats", growing up and all charging around the river as a group in their small boats.

We're glad that we got a chance to see Neal before he heads off for the long trip in Puffin down along the coast and Inter-Coastal Waterway to Florida for the winter.

09/05/16: Labor Day Family Crisis
We got a call from Sue's brother Alan that their mom Joanne had been taken to Memorial Hospital in North Conway, NH. We jumped into the car and met them there after 2 hours battling through Labor Day traffic.

After a couple of days of tests, they finally determined that she had had a stroke. We all sort of guessed that from the start and were rather upset with what we felt was poor diagnostic care at the hospital. They're probably fine for stitches and broken arms, but not this sort of thing from our view point.

Regardless, they transfered her to Northeast Rehabilitation Center in Newington, NH; about 10 minutes from us. Over the next few days we we all took turns going to see her, encouraging her in her therapy progress in getting stronger, and keeping her company. And each day she seemed to get a little better.

09/12/16: A Sad Family Day
Sue got a call at 5:30 am Monday morning 09/12/16 from her niece Tracy that her mom Joanne had died. This came as a total shock because she seemed to have been doing so well.

After pulling ourselves together, Sue and I drove over to the center, collected Joanne's things, and drove up to Ossipee, NH to Alan's. From there, we went to Joanne's sister Carol's to tell her in person. That was a difficult thing for everyone as Carol herself is not well.

And from there, we all went up to Wolfeboro to meet with Rick Gagne of the Baker and Gagne Funeral Home to make arrangements. It was decided to have a simple graveside ceremony followed by a celebration of life gathering for all of her friends and family at the O.C.C hall in Ossipee where Joanne had spent so much time and has so many friends.

Sue and I drove back up to Ossipee on Tuesday to do what we could with the family. What can you do.... I've duplicated her obituary that Sue's niece Tracy wrote for reference.

09/14/16: Kayak For Jill
Wednesday was Sue's "meltdown day" from all of the natural and expected tensions and frustrations she'd been through. Her cousin Debi, who had been with the family throughout this ordeal, scooped Sue up and off they went for the afternoon to walk the beach and search for sea glass.

They had a beautiful day, with the rain holding off just until they stepped back in the door when it started to pour. Debi stayed for awhile chatting with us, and then headed off for her home in Tuftonboro, NH.

But despite her own pain, Sue still thinks of others. After sitting down at the computer to check emails after Debbie left, she spotted an ad for a used kayak and thought it was worth going to take a look at as a possible gift for her daughter Jill. And it was. A terrific deal with paddles, life jacket, and foam pads and lines for a roof carrying system.

By the time we got back, it was 7:00 pm. We fixed some left overs, watched a little tv, and then Sue headed off to bed as she was just exhausted. It's been a long and trying time for her with little I can do to ease any pain.

09/17/16: Brian and Michelle's Wedding Celebration
Sue and I joined my karate disciple Brian Serven and his wife Michelle at the Meadow Farm Bed & Breakfast to celebrate their recent wedding.

Meadow Farm sits on fifty acres of lovely Current Picture fields and woods in Northwood, NH that was the perfect backdrop for the day.

It was great to meet their family and friends, some for the first time on such a spectacularly beautiful early Fall afternoon.

We all participated in pictures while a musician serenaded the reception guests with wonderful cello selections.

After pictures, we all sat down under a large tent for a terrific luncheon mix of vegetarian Italian and Indian selections.

09/20/16: From Linux back to Windows....
Not long ago I railed against Microsoft Windows 10 and moved my operating system to Linux Ubuntu Mint.

I love Linux, and with the Mint wrapper, a casual user would not even be aware of the platform difference other than how updates are handled and how apps are installed.

However, as a software developer, I found it problematic migrating all of my scripts and programming tools into the Linux environment. A couple of things I just could not get to work, so I called a consultant to find out what I needed to know.

The long and short of that conversation was that I was attempting to work with the more complex aspects of the operating system. He cautioned that my learning curve would be quite steep: many, many months of nothing but focus on Linux systems and tools.

I never was a systems or tools guy. My interest and expertise is the analysis, design, and development of complex business applications. The rest of it is just plumbing to me. I threw up several times....

And so today, my friend Ric Carter of Computer Authorities Plus came over, listened to me briefly whine, and then with coffee in hand, he ripped out Linux and installed Windows 10.

Oh, sure, he ran into a few problems during the install, and I ran into printer installation issues that he had to connect up to me to resolve a few days later. But all in all, it took me just a couple of days transitioning all of my development tools and other applications into Windows 10.

Once again, I am captive to Microsoft....

09/24/16: Sue's Mom's Memorial Service
Saturday 09/24/16 Sue and I drove up to Ossipee, NH for Sue's Mom's Memorial Service.

We had gone up Current Picture Friday and spent the day making arrangements for today's service. It had been a long day; so many things to do.

The memorial service was at the Effingham Falls Cemetary in the Stoddard family site. It was a simple service, officiated by Mary Edes who not only provide comforting words for the family, but sang several very moving songs as a tribute.

09/26/16: Closing on an era
I met up in Portsmouth, NH with my friend, karate stuedent, and real estate agent Tom Toye where he and my attorney Alex Nossiff assisted me in the sale of a Current Picture building I had owned at 24 Columbia Court since the late 1970s.

It was simply time to pass the torch, and let someone new (and younger!) carry this building forward.

I did have a special attachment to this building because I had lived there myself back in the early 1980s for a couple of years.

Columbia Court was the 5th building that I had purchased in Portsmouth at the time, and in tough shape. I put a lot of money into that building over the years, but it turned out to be a good investment for me particularly as I now move into retirement.

09/30/16: 2016 Annual Karate Disciple Retreat
My 2016 Annual Karate Disciple Retreat started Friday morning 09/30/16 at 8:00am and continued until Sunday at noon. Current Picture As usual, it was a pretty intense and demanding series of presentations and discussions.

Friday night we had a simple spaghetti dinner, but Saturday night, everyone pitched in starting around 5:00pm to help prepare a lemon chicken meal on a bed of thyme steamed rice with sides of sauted mushrooms and green beans with onion and squash.

Because of the scope of discussions that I wanted to have over the three days, I had created and printed up a 30 page study guide for everyone. That way, they could all follow along as I worked my way through the material.

10/07/16: Columbus Day Weekend
Sue and I headed out around 9:00 am Saturday morning 10/07/16 to check out the foliage. Though it began to cloud in late afternoon, Current Picture it was a bright sunny day while we were out.

We didn't have any particular agenda for the trip in mind when we set out; just to "...head north".

We took Route 4 out to the Lee Traffic Circle to get coffee - a critical component of any trip - before continuing through Northwood, up Main Street, and north on Route 107 into the Pittsfield, NH area.

We wandered around on the back roads through Gilmington, down to Loudon, and then back up through Canterbury where we stopped at the Shaker Village for lunch. From there, more wandering the back roads until we ended up in the Belmot area. From there, we drove Route 140 East, eventually hooking up onto Route 126 and 9 back home to Dover just after 3:00 pm; about a 6 hour adventure!

Sunday broke with a chilly drizzle that kept up most of the day. Sue was off early for a yoga class, and then to meet up with Lucas for lunch in Epping. After shopping for the pork roast with vegitables in a curry cream sauce I was fixing for dinner, I hauled in some wood from the garage and built a fire in the fireplace; our first of the season.

After catching up on getting some of her photography ready for a show at the Dover Library this coming November, Sue wanted to get an early start on our weekly backgammon series. The fire was a nice touch as a cold drizzle continued through the night. I'm not so sure about my vegitable dish, but at least the movie of the night, the 2016 Me Before You, was good!

We woke up Monday, Columbus Day (and from what I'm hearing, there's a movement on to rename this day to People's Day), to clear skies and bright sun. At 39 degrees, though, just a little cold to be Current Picture rushing out to go kayaking. So, we had eggs and sausage with coffee while we waited for the sun to warm things up a bit.

By 1:30pm when we hit the beach at the Piscassic Street boat launch in Newmarket NH the temp was up to a nice 55 plus degrees. We hadn't been to the left of the launch, so we first paddled over to and then under the old railroad bridge before reversing and heading up river.

Though it was really windy, the wind was up in the trees so paddling was fairly easy going both out and then back. We only stopped briefly at the active railroad bridge about half way along. We were surprised that none of the leaves had changed along that branch at all! Last year when we paddled up there at this time, they were spectacular!

Somewhere around 2:30pm we just coasted along and enjoyed a small sandwich, fresh grapes, and some water that Sue had packed for lunch. Again, just surprising how few leaves had changed. More surprising was that some of those had almost even browned out. Very strange. But a great day on the river on a spectacular Fall day; just perfect!

We got home around 4:00pm, changed up, and then sipped a little wine and played backgammon, watching another fire that I had lit in the fireplace. The temps were dropping, and by evening were probably in the mid 40s. A nice relaxing evening!

10/14/16: Out To See Play
After swining out to Newmarket, NH to look at a cute (but in need of major renovations) farm house, Sue and I drove over to Rollinsford, NH to the Garrison Players Playhouse to see their marvelous production of Little Old Ladies In Tennis Shoes. I just love community theater, and this was a wonderful play.

10/14/16: Sue's Aunt Carol Accepted to Mayflower Society
The Mayflower Society is a hereditary organization of individuals who have documented their descent from one or more of the 102 passengers who arrived on the Mayflower in 1620 at what is now Plymouth, Massachusetts. The Society was founded at Plymouth in 1897.

The primary goal of the Society is to educate the public about the role of the Pilgrims in the early history of what would later become the United States of America. There are Mayflower societies in all 50 United States, the District of Columbia, and Canada.

According to Wikipedia, Richard Warren (c. 1578–died c.1628) was one of the passengers on the Pilgrim ship Mayflower and a signer of the Mayflower Compact.

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10/15/16: Hunter's Moon Photography Adventure!
Sue came flying home from her trip up to Ossipee, NH 10/15/16, threw her camera gear into the car, and announced a great new full Hunter's Moon Photography Adventure!

Off we went, down to almost the end of Back River Road at Route 4. She had me pull over, almost opening the door before the car had stopped. Current Picture And off into the weeds she went, camera and tripod slung over her shoulder, flapping obligingly behind her.

After about 10 minutes, just as the sun was setting and the moon was fully crested over the tree line, she came running back to the car. "Wagon Hill!" she chirped. "Quick!"

We skidded into the parking area, Sue jumped out immediately, and we were off! After taking quite a few shots, she wandered back to join me on the path. "Okay, that's it," she sighed. It's always fun to go on a photography adventure with Sue because you just never know what you're going to get into or see!

We came back to the condo, had some wine, and played backgammon until we grabbed some dinner.

10/29/16: Dinner and a Play
Sue had spent the day framing about 8 of the remaining photographs she will be exhibiting at the Dover Library starting next month. There's still more work to do, but she stopped around 4:00pm so we could relax with a glass of wine and play some backgammon, which is a good thing.

She had humiliated me last week with 2 days of keeping me 30 points down. Though I'm seeing some respite this week as I'm up about 15 points, it's been a struggle. These are huge scores as we're usually only putting up 4 to 6 points over about a dozen games a session. So, a little wine and backgammon to work my way back up from despair was welcomed!

We went to an early dinner at Telly's Restaurant & Pizzeria in Epping, NH Saturday evening. It was the first time that I had been there, and I'm glad that Sue suggested it. I had a wonderful Veal Saltimbocca, and saw some other entries on the menu that I'd like to come back for.

We had gone to dinner early as I had got tickets for us to see Frank Kapra's terrific play "It's A Wonderful Life" at The Leddy Center in Epping, NH. I've watched the TV/VHS/DVD James Stewart and Donna Reed version every year for as long as I can remember, but this is the first time that I've been to a live performance of it. And it was... well, wonderful!

11/05/16: Annual U.N.H. Walkabout!
Every Fall for the last 40+ years I've taken a Fall walk around the U.N.H. campus in beautiful Durham, NH. With Sue and I looking for a new home to possibly move to, this may be Current Picture the last year I'm able to do this.

Each year for far longer than I can find pictures for, I've taken a shot of the big tree out in front of the Old Main building. Sometimes it's been very sunny, others it's been cloudy or raining. Sometimes, I've even walked around in a little snow, which is rare because I usually make this trek right after "Full Leaf Season" so that I can kick through the piles of beautifully hued fallen leaves that cover the campus grounds.

I was a little late this year by just a week. We had some very hard storms with high winds that knocked a lot of the leaves down last week, so many of the trees were fairly barren. But Sue and I really enjoyed our short, but leisurely casual, walkabout.

11/08/16: New Business
I have been a student of the financial markets for over 30 years. This has been mostly from a programmatic view, writing thousands of lines of computer simulation and analysis code, though I've done my share of trading along the way as well.

However, in 2007 I discovered the FOREX Foreign Currency Markets, a $5 Trillion Dollar a day market that absolutely dwarfs all other markets combined. I actually started live trading in 2012, successfully blowing up 2 real accounts and many simulated accounts since.

I had to build a web site a couple of years ago for managing my trades and doing metrics analysis of all of the transactions. It was just for my own use at the time, but it has since blossomed into a rather substantial, full-featured, business application. I also built a few page website for the company I had formed for my trading, Longwood Currency Trading.

I've had an enormous amount of fun, particularly over the last 4 years, building my skills in currency trading. So, I just decided that instead of keeping all of this to myself, I'd go ahead and formalize my new business by publishing the Longwood Currency Trading site. I'm sure that and my continuing work with the Rose School of Karate will keep me quite busy in retirement!

11/13/16: Super Moon Photography Adventure!
Sue and I piled into the car late Sunday afternoon 11/13/16 Current Picture to catch the Super Moon, a moon larger than any since 1948!

Our original plan was to drive out to Adams Point. But as we drove across the Route 108 bridge in Durham, the moon was quite high in the sky.

We figured it would take us too long to get all the way out to Adams Point, and so we swung around and drove to Jackson's Landing just past the Route 4 and Route 108 overpass.

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Good decision because the moon was still tucked below the tree line in the distance, just radiating itself through the branches as it rose in the background.

It was fairly chilly, and we sort of stomped around waiting for it to start its crest of the tree line so Sue could get the shot she was envisioning.

But the wait and the cold were well worth the experience of seeing this amazing site!

11/19/16: Visiting Sue's Brother
Sue and I drove up to the Lakes Region Hospital in Laconia after Sue got out of work on Friday to see her brother Alan. He just had surgery, and we wanted to be with him for a couple hours.

We had been kidding him about food because he wasn't allowed any. Sue tried to distract him, but no matter what she said, he'd come back relating the word or topic to food. It made us so hungry, that after leaving the hospital around 7:00pm we had a marvelous dinner at the Italian restaurant Fratello's in downtown Laconia.

Though things had gone well, the doctors had decided to keep him a little longer, and so we drove back up to see him again on Saturday as well. It was evening again when we left, and Sue suggested burgers at The Holy Grail in Laconia. Neither of us had been to that one; only the one in Epping. So, that was not only a nice change, but I had what I think is one of the best burgers I've ever had!

On both trips, we took the more scenic drive up on Route 107. Though the leaves had mostly browned and fallen, it's always a beautiful drive that way. No matter the particular stage the leaves are in, Fall in New England is just magical!

11/24/16: Thanksgiving!
We went up to join Sue's family in Tamworth, NH for Thanksgiving. For me, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. It combines all of the best things about life: Current Picture family, great food, and wiling away several hours watching football.

This was a particularly important family gathering because of the recent passing of Sue's mother, and a serious surgery that her brother had just been through the week before.

It was a marvelous drive up. Just as we headed north on Route 16 out of Dover, it began to spit just a little snow. The further north we got, the more it snowed. It was just beautiful, and a perfect backdrop to the start of our Thanksgiving day!

By the time we stopped for coffee and gas at the Irving station in Union, there was just enough snow coming down to coat the sides of the road and grass. I hadn't expected this, but it just gave the trip a special sense for me, as well as the meaning this particular holiday had for us.

This was an important gathering for us because of Sue's mom's passing not too long ago. But rather than dwelling on the loss, everyone cherished the memories and celebrated a day together.

While Jeff and I, and a changing cadre of others passing in and out, watched football, Sue and most everyone else worked their magic creating crafts on the dining room table after the food had all been cleared off and put away.

11/25/16: Friday Night Pizza Party!
After Sue got home from work Friday, Colin and Ren, and Ren's mom came over for a pizza party!

It's not like we needed pizza after having stuffed ourselves the day before! The point was just to get together with them, and share some time for the holiday.

11/26/16: Another Thanksgiving Dinner
I had wanted to fix a turkey this year for Thanksgiving, and so we decided that Saturday 11/26/16 would be a good day to do it!

As I didn't have to start my prep work until around 1:30pm, Sue and I drove over to Wentworth Gardens in Somersworth, NH to get some greens for a project she had in mind. The air was crisp outside, and so the warmth of the greenhouse and its smells were so inviting as we pushed through the entry doors. I always enjoy wandering around there, looking at all of the clever designs and beautiful plants.

As I got the butter, garlic, and herb rub for the turkey ready, Sue put the stuffing together so that it could go into the turkey for the first searing. She also readied the butternut squashes and wrapped them in aluminum foil. They would go into the oven for the last hour the turkey cooked.

I was doing the turkey the way Master Chef James Haller from the former Blue Strawberry Restaurant in Portsmouth, NH had taught me back in the late 1970s: 45 minute uncovered sear at 525 F, then a few hours sealed in aluminum foil at 450 F after soaking a layering of cheesecloth with Burgundy, and hitting it again about every 45 minutes or so. It's a wonderful recipe, and the turkey comes out so moist and tender.

Well, we got that all going successfully just before Sue's brother Alan, his wife Joann, and their daughter Tracy arrived. They scooped Sue up, and off they went to see Sue's photography exhibit at the Dover Public Library. They had wanted to come down to see it before her month long show ended in a few days.

I stayed home to monitor the turkey process, take care of the periodic basting, and sipping the wine to make sure it was not going bad or anything.

When everyone returned, the girls dropped Sue and Alan off and then headed off shopping. We had invited everyone to stay for dinner, but they were so stuffed from Thursday that they opted just to shop. But continuing the party with us was no problem for Alan, so we set a place for him at the table, and had a lovely chat with him until dinner was ready at just after 6:00 pm.

It was a long day, but I had such fun cooking! But still a long day. After Alan left, Sue and I dropped onto the sofa and watched the really wonderful 2016 movie, Genius, staring Colin Firth as Max Perkins's, the book editor at Scribner who oversaw the development of the works of Thomas Wolfe, played by Jude Law.

11/27/16: Casual Sunday Afternoon Visit to Hamilton House
Sue and I thought it would be nice to take a drive out to the historic Hamilton House in Current Picture South Berwick, ME 11/27/16 just to catch the last of the late fall views.

We love the Hamilton House with it's beautiful grounds, gardens, and trails into the Vaughan Woods Memorial State Park. The house itself is the former home of a merchant ship captain, and can be toured in season.

We must go out there 4 or 5 times during the year. Sometimes just to wander around, and other times where Sue will power walk the trails while I sit in a chair on top of the hill overlooking the Salmon Falls River.

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On this particular day, there was a remaining veil of mist and fog that clutched at the tree tops; just spectacularly pretty to be a part of. We didn't stay long as there was a nip in the air and we really didn't have time to walk the trails to warm up.

Instead, we headed home where I got a nice fire going in the fireplace, and we settled into the warmth it threw off into the room.

12/03/16: To Laconia With a Touch of Snow
Up at 5:30am Saturday morning to get up to Laconia. I had asked if I could be any help at my student Russ Jones grand opening of his Sachem Health Center in downtown Laconia, NH. He invited me to teach an adult karate class at 9:00am and then assist with his kids class at 10:00am.

Well, the drive up was really pretty. Current Picture I took Route 9, branched off onto Route 126, and then worked my way onto Route 107 North. And going through Gilmington, NH around 7:15am there was frost on the sides of the road and just a little snow accumulation on the ground.

There was a good turnout for both the adult and the kids classes, and we were pretty busy all morning. Russ had some lunch brought in for everyone, and I stayed until 12:30pm when I had to drive over to Gilford, NH (about 20 minutes) to take a look at a house for sale.

I got home around 3:00pm, got some business busy-work done, and then chatted with my brother Alan about a recipe from our mom that I was fixing for Sue and me for Sunday night.

By the time all of that got squared away, I wasn't really in a mood to fuss over dinner, so I just poured a glass of Cabernet and heated up spaghetti left-overs from Friday evening.

I was pretty beat though from an early rise and busy day, and so I started the movie of the night, Stanley Kubrick's 1968 classic, 2001: A Space Odyssey. I have to watch this movie once every 3 years or so, and since Sue had headed off Friday after work for RI to spend the weekend with her daughter Jill, it was an opportune time for this as she is just not a fan.

12/04/16: Dinner From the Past!
For dinner tonight I fixed my mom's recipe for Chicken Tetrazzini. When I was growing up, this was a huge favorite of mine. it's surprising because I was such a picky eater until experiencing the joys of dorm food at college.

I had searched through all of the recipes that I had from her, but couldn't find it. I called my brother Alan, and he had it. He read it to me over the phone Saturday evening, and then Sunday I created it here for Sue and I for the first time. Well, my mom's version of it, anyway. And it was terrific and just about as good as I remember hers! Just about....

12/10/16: Christmas Tree Search
Colin and Ren came by and picked us up late morning 12/10/16 to go on a hunt for Christmas Trees. But, before doing that, we were up and out the door at 7:30am with Tom to drive up to Alton, NH to have a second viewing of a house we were interested in.

I had been up to look at it Thursday morning, and had enough interest that I wanted Sue to have a look. It was a bank foreclosure sale, and the house was just really beat — probaly forty-thousand worth of work to do, and not a very 'cute' place at all.

But it did have many of the characteristics that we are looking for. Not sure the good points outweigh the negatives on this one, however. And to make things just that much more confusing, we did a drive-by of another house Sue had seen - an old 1775 antique cape on almost 3 acres that really looks appealing....

We got back home around 11:00am and had just about enough time to get some busy-work done by the time Colin and Ren arrived. They were getting their tree as well, so Colin had hooked up a

We drove up to Straffod, NH to go to the 'cut down your own' tree farm we went to last year. Though cold, the sun was out so we took the scenic way up Routes 9 and 126 into Strafford, and then up around the east side of Bow Lake.

But when we got there, we found out that they had switched to a process where you had to have already tagged your tree.

Colin and I both remembered seeing a sign along the road not far back advertising trees. So, Colin impressed us with his backing up and turning around with a flat bed trailer banging around on the back of his truck, and off we went to find the place.

We remembered all of the logging equipment and stacks of trees there, so it was easy to find it again: Hickory Hill Farm and Leighton's Christmas Trees (Steve Leighton is the owner).

What a terrific place, and the views are just spectacular! We made short work of selecting our trees, loading them onto the flat bed, and strapping them down.

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When we got home, Sue gathered up all of the decorations and we strung the lights onto the tree. Here I am in a forced pose in mid-light-hanging-style holding a cast of Mia's hand that Marissa had given us last year. Wonderful....

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12/11/16: To Laconia for Black Belt Exams
Several of my black belt level students and I drove up to my disciple Master Russ Jones' club early Sunday morning. I was sitting on the exam board for 3 of his students who were taking their Pending Black Belt exams. It was a long day: exams began at 8:00am and didn't conclude until almost 6:00pm.

12/13/16: Early Morning Property Viewing
Sue had seen a listing for a 1775 antique cape in New Durham, NH that looked really interesting. I asked my student, friend, and real estate agent Tom Toye of Arthur Thomas Properties if he could arrange an early morning showing so that Sue could get back in time to head off for work.

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Sue took this picture of a wreath hanging on the barn. Terrific house on almost 3 acres with a huge detatched 2 story barn. We loved it so much we put a purchase offer in for it!

12/17/16: Strawbery Banke Annual Candlelight Stroll
After getting about 5 inches of snow during the day Saturday, Sue and I drove to Portsmouth, NH's Strawbery Banke for their annual Candlelight Stroll at 5pm.

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What a spectacular and wonderful experinece that was! Be sure to check out Sue's pictures because it doesn't get any more 'Winter in New England' than this!

12/18/16: Typical New England Winter Sunday
Woke up Sunday morning to a slushy, frozen, biting cold, and misty-sleeting day. Other than that: I love it!

It was a terrific day to just sit in the library, watch the weather, and catch up on accumulated 'stuff'.

For dinner, I fixed my mom's Spanish Paella recipe. We had a bottle of wine one of my students gave us for a gift, sat by the nice fire 'city-boy' made, and battled it out over the backgammon board so I could try to pull out of the week's 19 point hole that Sue has thrown me into.

12/20/16: To Laconia to Teach Advanced Karate Class
Several of us drove up to my disciple Master Russ Jones karate club in Laconia, NH Tuesday 12/20/16. We were originally supposed to be having a brown belt level exam for 2 folks, but circumstances prevented that from happening until a later date.

But I had said that I would be up there at 7:00pm, and so up we all went! But what a drive! There was a 3 car pile up on the Spaulding Turnpike just before Exit 9 that had traffic backed up to a crawl all the way down to the Portsmouth Traffic Circle.

It took us what seemed like forever to get through that, but despite the delay we almost made it on deck on time! I mistakenly directed Tom to take the wrong turn to the club almost right by the location, and so it took us about 4 minutes to swing around.

After class, Master Jones, Tom, and I headed over to CJ's in Laconia for a beer and burger.

12/24/16: Busy Christmas Eve Day and Dinner
It was a busy but wonderful Christmas Eve day and evening for us this year for sure! Christmas Eve day Sue thought it'd be nice to take a drive for a photography adventure. Current Picture Except it wasn't.... the fog, which could have provided a great backdrop to some sort of winter scene, just didn't reveal itself.

When we got back home, I got a fire going in the fireplace and put on the 1946 movie classic It's a Wonderful Life - more for background than full attentive watching.

I started chopping and dinner food prep just after 4:00pm. I was fixing my mom's Spanish Paella again, and I wanted to have all of that done by the time the kids came around 6:00pm.

12/25/16: Christmas in Rochester and Effingham
Sue and I spent Christmas morning sharing our gifts before heading out for Christmas in Rochester and Effingham.

Marissa had invited us over to her house at 1:30 Christmas Day, sort of staging in the large number of people that were going there over a few hours time.

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We left at 2:30 so we could get up to Sue's brother Alan's house in Ossipee before dusk. She and Alan then went over to lay a wreath Sue had made onto their mom's grave. By the time they got back to the house, the place was filled with family.

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It was a wonderful time of chaos and sharing, little ones scrambling all over the place and the smells of cooking and baking filling the house. It was 9:30 by the time we headed out into the cold night air for home, but smiles and memories of the day warmed us both physically and emotionally.

12/26/16: Final House Evaluation
Tom picked us up at 9:20 to head up to the Berry Road house for a second showing. None of that could happen, of course, without first stopping along Route 11 for coffee! It's a ritual. And a necessity!

It was really cold out, but the house was warm and inviting as Tom, Sue, and I went through in detail each major part of the restoration work that we thought we'd want to have done in order to accomodate our particular life style.

It was amazing, but as we were finishing up I noticed that we had been there for over 2 hours! Not that there's that much to do. I'm just not familiar at all with this sort of thing, and so Tom was very patient with me as he explained the various options and approaches needed to accomplish the work.

After getting home, we had to go shopping for the dinner Sue was making: a winter mushroom cream soup. While she visited with her friend Norah and took a short walk in the brisk air, I did all of the prepwork. After Sue got back, I got a fire going in the fireplace, she put all the ingredients together, and it became soup! While that cooked slowly in the pot, we played several sets of backgammon while listening to a Ray Charles CD that I had gotten for Sue for Christmas as well as a Keith Urban CD she had gotten for me.

The soup was wonderful! She had paired it with a salad of mixed greens, berries, and feta cheese that just really complemented the meal. After cleaning up, I threw a couple more logs on the fire, and we watched the amazing 2015 movie The 33.

12/29/16: New Home Under Contract!
After going back and forth with the seller's of the home in New Durham, NH, Sue and I finalized the purchase and sales contract on 12/29/16 by accepting their very fair counter offer.

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The home is a 2 story 1775 post and beam antique cape, 1,254 sq feet, 2 bed, 1 bath (that I'll be adding a shower to), on 2.7 acres with a detached 2 story barn, paved parking area, with the grounds themselves containing ample garden space, a detached screened gazebo, a small tool shed, and a tree house. It also includes private beach access and boat launch at nearby Merrymeeting Lake.

12/31/17: New Year's Eve
What a grand time we had New Year's Eve! We had invited my 30+ year karate disciple Master Tim House and his wife Shodan Cindy House over for dinner.

We all worked together and made homemade Current Picture pasta from scratch, and a rich Bolognese sauce, along with an Italian blueberry, strawberry, and raspberry lemon parfait desert to die for that Sue had made earlier in the day.

Tim and Cindy left around 10pm, and after watching a couple of saved shows, we did stay up to see the ball drop.

But we were really, really pooped out by then and were in bed 3 minutes after that.

Happy New Year!