Before we headed off to join Steve and Cathy at their house for New Year's Eve, I had some snow shoveling to do, and then we drove Lucas down to Boston's Logan airport for his flight back to L.A.
We had a fun evening with Steve and Cathy, and just a really lazy day New Year's Day, watching a couple of Hallmark Channel movies.
01/02/20: Doctor Check Up For Sue's Wrist
Today is the 1 year anniversary of Sue's broken wrist surgery. She's been having a tough time of it even with many, many months of physical therapy. She had made a consult appointment with the surgeon early last month, and so I drove her down to the office for that.
She's glad that she went in as she got some actionable advice from the doctor. He gave her a cortisone shot to relieve the pain from what he said was tendinitis. Over the following days, that seemed to have started to help with the pain, and we hope will help with the healing.
We got out of there around 3:00 pm, and headed to a couple of shopping stops around the Dover area. Though it was early, we decided on stopping in Rochester at the Lilac City Grille for dinner, and a special Margarita for Sue that she had been looking forward to.
01/03/20: Movie Night At Alan's in Ossipee
We loaded The Beau Dog into the car Friday afternoon 01/03/20 at 4:00 pm and headed to Sue's brother Alan's home in Ossipee.
We had given Alan an Amazon FireStick, and so the first order of business was to set that up for him. We needed that working in order to have a Movie Night with pizza, of course! After getting the FireStick loaded, we all hopped into the car, and drove to one of the local pizza shops to pick up our order.
We ate while watching the selection of the night, the 2019 Judi Dench spy thriller, Red Joan. Both the movie and the pizza were pretty good, but by the time all that was done it was late.
On the way home, we stopped off at a store in Ossipee to get some batteries for our smoke detectors. A couple of them had started beeping in the middle of the night. I had to pull the unit out of the wall because you can't just remove the batteries because it gets really pissed off if you do that — threatening carbon monoxide gas, fire, low battery and all sorts of evil crap.
Sue snapped this picture of Beau watching me intently as I came out of the store in Ossipee carrying the bag of batteries I had just bought.
We got home around 9:45, watched a quick recorded show, and tumbled into bed.
01/05/20: Snow Clean Up and Great Sunday Dinner For Two!
While Sue took Beau for a snowshoe walk in the woods, I spent about 40 minutes shoveling another 2 inches of snow that had fallen during the night.
I wanted to get right to that. Temps were supposed to rise during the day, and then go down later in the night. If I just let that all sit there, then we'd have ice all over the place.
I didn't use the snow blower as it was still very light and powdery. Though, in some places where the sun had hit it, it was getting pretty heavy. Besides, if you're not crazy doing it, shoveling is fun, and great exercise. Well, as long as it's light as it was for the most part today. When it gets heavy, that really sucks.
After I got in, I snatched Beau, and brushed his teeth. Poor guy is very susceptible to tarter. This is easier than the vet bill for cleaning them....
Beau is just not interested in having someone messing around in his mouth. What a sad face that is! And the paw on my arm is supposed to make me feel sorry for him. Sure....
And it did get cold! The wind picked up around noon, sometimes blowing 30 mph or more in strong gusts that rocked the trees around us. The wind just howled through them, and slammed into the side of the house.
At 4:30pm, I popped open a bottle of a nice red blend that we enjoyed by the wood stove as we played backgammon for awhile. Dinner prep was fairly easy, and I had it ready in no time. I fixed Mandarin Chicken over long grain rice with a side of sage steamed broccoli. Simple, but really good!
I usually have some sort of party to celebrate this, but we just got so busy with the holidays that it just slipped by....
01/08/20: Another Storm Cleanup!
We had more snow than I thought we'd get last night. I was out shoveling about 4 inches in some places, and just an inch in others. The high winds just howled through the trees an just blew shit around all over the place. The wood stove kept us warm as we watched the pretty good Renee Zellweger film, Judy, for which she won an Academy Award. It was really worth the price of admission just to watch her performance.
01/10/20: Bland Dinner Out With Friends
Cathy had called earlier in the week to see if Sue and I wanted to go with Steve and her to check out the new opening of The Dockside Restaurant in Alton, NH Friday 01/10/20. It was a sad disappointment for all of us as depicted in the following Yelp! review I wrote.
When we got back to our house, Beau went berserk when we walked in the door. He was soooo happy to see not only us, but Steve and Cathy. He was all over the place. Very funny.
I got a fire going in the wood stove, Sue brought out some great lemon and thyme flavored cookies she had made, and we just sat and had an enjoyable time chatting.
01/12/20: Winterscapes on the Mountain!
Saturday the 10th, it was so mild out, in the 50s, that we stuffed Beau into the car and took a scenic drive over Route 140. We drove all the way out through Pittsfield before looping back. Really nice, relaxing excursion. On the way home, we swung by the store to do the food shopping.
But the night skies then, as well as the night before on the 9th, were just spectacular, Sue couldn't pass up using her night view lens for some pictures of the backyard.
The lens made it look like a day shot, but the sky was really was black. It's soooo cool the way she caught the long shadows of the trees against the snow from the full moon.
I snapped this shot with my phone camera to catch the contrast of the barn flood lights against the snow. The lights kept going on from the motion of the trees being buffeted by the strong winds.
Again, it's pitch black out there but the lens just picks up the faintest of light that you can clearly see the stars.
Another night shot, this one showing more stars.
As we sat watching a movie in the living room Saturday night, we could hear the wind howling through the trees. Both front and rear barn motion lights kept getting triggered.
By Sunday morning when we got up, it was pelting rain against the side of the house. The rain got so heavy for awhile that you could hear the water in the brook out back crashing down over the rocks. And then all of a sudden, the skies cleared, and the sun popped out. Amazing.
Later in the afternoon, I got a fire going in the wood stove to take the chill out of the air. The temps had started to go down around 3:00 pm, and were supposed to drop to 19 degrees by midnight. While Sue finished up some things she was working on, I got a jump on some of the food prep for the Herb Seasoned Mediterranean Vegetables over couscous I was fixing for dinner.
We played some rugged backgammon over a very nice bottle of Chateau St. Jean Sauvignon Blanc for an hour or so, and then headed into the kitchen to put dinner together. The meal came out quite good, though, of course, the flavor profile was different than I've used before. The basic ingredients were the vegetables: onions, leeks, yellow summer squash, red, yellow, and green sweet peppers, black olives, mushrooms, and garlic. That all paired nicely with the spices I used, which had quite a collage of flavors: ground black pepper, rosemary, coriander, parsley, cilantro, and oregano with crushed red tomatoes and Port wine. It all went together amazingly. We finished off the night with the great 2013 Martin Scorsese movie, The Wolf of Wall Street.
01/13/20: Mia Overnight Visit
After Sue ran some errands down in Dover Monday 01/13/20, she swung by the shop to pick up Mia for an overnight visit.
Pile up at the bottom of the hill.
Sue had her out sledding on the hill in the backyard about as soon as she arrived, and they went snowshoeing a couple of times as well. It was a really fun couple of days, though keeping up with a 4 year old can be exhausting at times. Well, not for me, but Sue was all over the place with her.
01/16/20: Another Winter Storm Rips Across the Mountain
So Thursday early morning 01/16/20 we got hit with another substantial snow storm. It dumped about 8 inches, probably more, but it was heavy so it didn't fluff up. Because it was supposed to blow itself out by early afternoon, Sue and I just sat inside sipping coffee, and working on projects.
You can see the huge flakes of snow against the background of the barn.
The backyard is buried!
At 960 feet above sea level, we got hammered, but Colin who lives in Somersworth and works in Dover said all it did was rain. Up on the mountain it was lovely. I shoveled the walkways and barn area out about 2:30 pm after the 25 mph winds knocked 4 inches of snow off the drooping tree limbs. That would have been irritating to have shoveled earlier and then needing to go back out again. Once is enough!
After wearing myself out shoveling, I went inside, and lit a fire in the wood stove. Sue and I played backgammon until having an early diner and watching the terrific movie, The Two Popes.
01/17/20: Pre Storm Prep and Dinner Out
Friday 01/17/20 I started the day hauling in 10 loads of wood. The weather service was projecting a massive snow, ice, and rain storm to sweep across the Northeast tomorrow and into Sunday, so I wanted to get the wood in early rather than shag that in a storm.
Sue helped with a few loads, and getting the wood stove ready, and then headed off to snowshoe with Beau in the woods. I knew she'd be a while because the snow was deep everywhere from yesterday's storm.
Because we were planning on going food shopping when she got back, I thought I'd take care of the Christmas tree. We had left it up until now just because we enjoyed the soft glow of the lights while we relaxed in the living room. The target for getting it down and to the dump was actually tomorrow, Saturday. But because of the pending storm, and not wanting to wait another week, I just started pulling ornaments and lights off.
By the time Sue got back with Beau, I had the tree hauled out by the barn. While she was finishing up with the shopping list, I secured the tree onto the top of her car, and then we were off to the dump and shopping.
The store was mobbed with everyone stocking up in anticipation of the storm, and so it took a little longer to navigate through the aisles. But no one was pushy or so focused on what they were trying to do that they were abrupt or rude. We just strolled down the aisles, picking our stuff out, and enjoying the process.
I currently have 40 pages completed on another book on currency trading I'm writing, FOREX Theoretical Scalping Analysis and Execution, so I grabbed a cup of coffee and went into the library to work on that for awhile. I'm glad we've kept the wood stove going as the temperature outside was in the low teens. I really enjoy sitting in the library and writing with views out the windows of the woods, and feeling the heat from the wood stove warming everything around me.
Just before 5:00 pm, Steve and Cathy pulled into the driveway. We were all headed for dinner at Shibley's at the Pier in Alton, NH. It was their opening from being closed for a few weeks, so we were excited to go. Shibley's has really good food, the atmosphere is terrific, and as Steve commented a few times while we were there, "It sure is nice to be able to carry on a conversation unlike our experience at The Dockside on the 10th!"
Cathy had brought a wonderful pumpkin spice pie that she had made for desert, and so when we got back home we had that with loads of whipping cream on top. But, man, was I stuffed! The food had been so good at Shibley's that I ate my whole dinner which was portioned more for a 40 year old field worker than a sedentary 70 year old. But it had been sooooo good.... After the pie, I was beyond stuffed....
01/18/20: Bigger Storm Hits and Carries Through until Sunday!
Late Saturday evening 01/18/20, the snow started to fall. The weather service was predicting 6 to 8 inches, but by the time it blew itself out Sunday morning there was closer to 10 inches, maybe a foot in some places.
Plenty of wood in the rack to last out the storm!
We had a fire going in the wood stove all day, and it was really nice throughout the house. Though that night we did hit a season high temp in the upstairs hallway of 89 degrees! But it was frigid out, and the wind blew the snow through the trees like shit through a goose. It was a Nor'easter for sure!
As Sue and I sat down in the living room to play some backgammon before dinner, I popped the cork on a 14 Hands 2016 Stampede Bold Red Wine Blend. Man, was that a surprise at first sip. When it came out of the bottle we both gasped at the really deep, dark, and rich color. We thought it would be overpowering. But what a surprise: our first sips were of a bold, but soft velvety richness. Man, that is a good wine. I'd do that any day of the week.
For dinner, we were just having spaghetti. But Sue had wanted to try store bought chopped sausage rather than meat balls. We had got a pound of sausage when we shopped Friday, and so I went at it. I mixed in parsley, oregano, tarragon, ground black pepper, some cilantro, and a dash of cumin. I cooked that in a really hot skillet until just browned, and then added a bottle of Barilla Tomato and Basil sauce. I let that slow simmer for about an hour while we played more backgammon, and enjoyed the wine. It was really, really good! Success!
By the time we got up Sunday morning, the storm had blown itself out, and the sun was shining brightly. What a contrast to the heavy blanket of freshly fallen snow. I spent almost 2 hours roof raking, and then shoveling. I have to get the snow pulled back away from the barn and around my car in order for the plow guy to get all of the snow out of the driveway when he comes to do his thing.
I took a long hot shower after that, grabbed a coffee, and headed back into the library to work on my book until late afternoon.
Sue was fixing salmon for her brother Alan who came down for dinner, and catching up with her. I was off at 4:30 to meet up with Colin at The 99 Restaurant in Dover for dinner, and then we headed down to see the new Star Wars movie at the big complex in Newington. Sue is not a fan of Star Wars, and I don't like salmon, so we all made out pretty good tonight!
We arrived a little after 5:00 pm, Steve popped open the wine we had brought, and we were all into helping Cathy fix a special West African Style Peanut Stew With Chicken recipe that she had found. And man, did it turn out great!
01/26/20: Quiet Sunday Dinner Party For Two
Sue and I had a relaxing day Sunday 01/26/20, and by 5:00 pm we had settled into a nice evening by the wood stove with some wine and backgammon.
01/30/20: Thursday Night Out For Dinner
Thursday evening 01/30/20 Sue and I joined Marissa, Gary, and Mia at the Thirsty Moose in Dover for an off-the-cuff dinner. We had a great time catching up with them, as well as sampling some of the many craft beers they have.
John and Marion posing with the moose outside of Cabela's, Scarborough, ME.
On the way, we met up with Alan, and then stopped off for lunch at the Cracker Barrel in Scarborough, ME. Great day, and I even found a nice pair of new boots!
02/04/20: John and Marion Visit Relatives in North Conway
John and Marion headed off Tuesday 02/04/20 at noon to Ossipee, NH to meet up with Alan, and then then they all drove over to North Conway, NH to visit with other relatives.
Sue had a late morning appointment, and so Beau and I held the fort down while everyone was gone. When Sue got back later that afternoon, we just hung out playing backgammon and watching some tv until they arrived back around 7:30 pm.
02/05/20: Ending the Day With Night Sledding! Wednesday late morning 02/05/20Sue met up with Alan, and they drove John and Marion to Marion's aunt Mary's in Hill, NH for a family gathering lunch. I stayed home with Beau, and got about 60 pages read in a current book I'm reading.
When everyone returned, I started getting dinner ready: chicken thighs in a curry sauce over a bed of brown rice. After watching the really good 2009 movie Star Trek, Sue and Marion grabbed the sled, and took a couple of runs down the hill in the dark. That was quite something to see, and The Beau Dog just couldn't believe it.
02/06/20: Snow Storm Makes For Nice Inside Movie Day Thursday morning 02/06/20 we woke up to a little over 3 inches of freshly fallen snow. It was beautiful.
Yup, Sue's serious about this — heading out the door with her sled.
After our first movie of the day, Avitar, finished, we just sat in the living room and chatted for quite some time as the lasagna finished baking in the oven. We decided on an early dinner as today was movie day, and we wanted to get on to the next one.
It had been a long day and evening for everyone yesterday, and the thought was to wrap things up early tonight and get to bed. We watched the really nice 2010 Martin Sheen movie, The Way and enjoyed some wonderful ice cream and brownies that Sue had made earlier.
02/07/20: Snow Storm Continues, But Turns To Sleet
It had continued snowing all night, but turned to a fine sleet by morning on Friday 02/06/20 by the time Sue headed out to walk Beau. She went in the woods behind the house again because it was really nasty out.
Tree limbs hanging with the weight of the snow and ice around 10am Friday morning.
We all jumped into Sue's car after I got done shoveling the snow out of the way. We wanted to take John and Marion out to lunch for seafood at The Windjammer Restaurant in Rochester, and debated whether the roads would be okay from the storm. I had received a text back from Marissa that it was more rain and sleet down lower than it was frozen snow on the roads up where we were. So off we went, and though dicey at times, we made it down there and back.
Later that afternoon as we were sitting in the living room watching the entertaining 2011, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, the sleet started pelting the side of the house, and the intensity of the snow storm was so impressive that I went out and took a picture.
Just as the movie was ending, Sue's brother Alan arrived. We had invited him up to have dinner with us, as Sue had made what turned out to be a marvelous left over turkey soup. I had been tasked with picking part of the turkey apart while she was out walking Beau, and then had been smelling it cooking all day.
After finishing dinner, we sat around the table for quite awhile just chatting, but by 7:00 pm I had to get everyone into the living room so we could start the evening's movie, the excellent 1972 Robert Redford movie, Jeremiah Johnson.
02/08/20: John and Marion Head For Home
It was sad to see them have to leave, but around noon Saturday 02/08/20 everyone packed into Alan's truck for the drive over to the airport in Manchester.
Saturday morning breakfast before John and Marion had to head for the airport home.
I stayed home with Beau and finished up with the shoveling. We had gotten another inch or so overnight to add to the several from the storm the day before. When Sue got home and settled in, we played some backgammon, ate a pizza, and enjoyed the evening with the wood stove pouring heat around us.
On one of her trips out to the kitchen, she noticed the rising of a spectacular full moon through the trees:
Full moon rising through the ice covered tree branches.
02/12/20: Valentines Adventures
Sue and I treated ourselves to some Valentines Day Adventures Wednesday 02/12/20. We visited The Flume Gorge up in Lincoln, NH for some winter hiking, then to the spectacular Ice Castles exhibit in Woodstock, NH, and dinner at the Covered Bridge Farm Table restaurant in Campton, NH.
Sue at in front of the Flume Gorge Visitor Center, Lincoln, NH.
We headed out around 1:15 pm after dropping The Beau Dog off for the day with Steve and Cathy. We took Route 140 out of Alton, NH over to Tilton, NH where we picked up I-93 North to Exit 34. What spectacular views we had along 93!
We hiked the 2 mile loop trail up to and back from the gorge at The Flume, getting some great, great pictures. But what a difference a winter hike is compared to the time in June of 2018 that we did it.
We spent about an hour and a half walking around the Ice Castles exhibit, and then stopped for dinner at the Covered Bridge Farm Table restaurant in Campton, NH, some of the best meals we've ever had.
02/15/20: Taking Care of Mia and a Note From Chuck
I went over to Marissa's today, Saturday 02/15/20 to take care of Mia. Marissa had called last night saying that Mia was sick with high temperature, and wondering if I could come down and sit with her.
Anytime to see Mia — even when she's not feeling well — is a treat, so after stopping at Aroma Joe's for coffee, I was there just before 9:00 am so Marissa could get to work.
Mia parked on the sofa with her... well, puke bucket — her words!
Mia was parked on the sofa when I got there, and that's where she stayed for the day, except for her nap from 1:00 to 4:00.
It was a perfect day for a movie marathon: 2015 Jurassic World, 2018 Bumblebee, and 2009 Avatar. While I was there, I got a wonderful note from Chuck that so made my day.
As soon as she got to the house, she and Sue were all over the place. They did some water color painting, and then she and I took a short hike with Beau through the woods behind the house. We ended off the afternoon watching a movie until Steve and Cathy joined us for pizza.
Sunday, Sue and Mia were out back on the hill sledding — more than once! — and just having the best time. After her nap, Sue gave Mia a bath, and then Mia helped me cook Sunday dinner.
Because Mia had a gymnastics make up camp to get to Monday morning, Marissa picked her up at 8:30 after a light breakfast. And then... it was quite....
02/29/20: Murder Mystery Dinner Theater
Our friends Steve and Cathy had asked weeks ago if we'd be interested in going with them to a Murder Mystery Dinner Theater event in Rochester, NH at The Governor's Inn. We had always thought that would be fun, and so off we went tonight.
Over 200 folks joined in the fun!
And it was a hoot! It was titled: Saturday Night Cleaver At The Hard Roch Cafe, with a rocking 70s disco theme. It was a wild night at the Governor's Inn for sure. The cast were all dressed in 70s attire, and led groups of us to different rooms of the inn to present clues.
One of the actors sporting a huge Afro playing the character Nicotine dancing past the tables during one of the cast numbers.
03/07/20: Paella Dinner Party
We invited our friends Steve and Cathy over for a special Paella Dinner Party Saturday night, 03/07/20.
I had never cooked paella before, and so this was truly an adventure! I had done most of the prep work before they arrived, and good thing as Sue had concocted a script to read to sort of "mystery birthday dinner" for Cathy as she won't tell anyone when it is.
Sue at work on her script before Steve and Cathy arrived.
Relaxing with The Beau Dog, if that's possible.
Beau demanded attention, and Cathy was more than happy to oblige....
Sue delivering her "mystery birthday dinner" speech for Cathy while wearing her special 'Sassy Sally' hat! What a really, really clever and entertaining — and nice thing — she had done for her friend!
03/12/20: Chuck Arrives For a Visit
Chuck flew in from Chicago Thursday evening 03/12/20 for a weekend visit. He went straight from the airport to Marissa's as he always does.
Peter, Sue, and Chuck
Staying at Marissa's this time would be special, though, because it would be his first time at their new home. I know he was excited about that, and texted how beautiful it was, and that he — like all of us — thought the view they have is really nice.
Friday Chuck was out with Colin for the day. While they were out, Sue and I got the Bolognese sauce cooked for Saturday night's dinner party here at the house. Late afternoon, Sue, Chuck, and I headed off for dinner at The Lodge at Smith Point.
Saturday Chuck came over to the house, and we just had a relaxing day until it was time for some wine, and combat—trash—talkin' backgammon. The Spaghetti Bolognese was soooooo good, I couldn't believe it. And Sue topped off the night with a great mixed berries in yogurt.
Sunday Chuck spent at Marissa's, and then Colin met them to go out for dinner. Monday Chuck came over for an early lunch with us, and then was off to the airport to head home.
Sue and Beau cleaning the snow off the walkway St. Patrick's Day morning 03/17/20.
And then it snowed even harder overnight Thursday 03/19!
We had to go out to the accountant's office late morning, and the roads up here on the mountain were pretty slick. By the time we got down in the "flat lands" there was no snow, but just a light drizzle of chilly rain.
Sue and Beau at it again cleaning the snow off the walkway Tuesday morning 03/24/20 after yesterday's heavy storm.
The day started out beautifully as we got some lovely pictures of Mia playing outside. We then took a drive up to visit Sue's aunt Carol in Ossipee as it was her birthday. Because of the COVID-19 virus evolving, we only stood on her porch and talked briefly with her.
Before heading for home, we stopped off at her brother Alan's and did the same distance visit with him.
Sue just can't wait — she's already out digging in the dirt and there's still a couple of inches of snow over most of the yard!
The link page shows the toy bear we put into our window for parents to drive their kids past, a story and picture of my dad and me sailing in Chicago, and Sue's trip down to the beach to walk with her friend Gail.
03/28/20: Colin Visits and Some "Shelter In Place" Thoughts...
Colin swung by for a visit and we exchanged "distance hugs" just to be safe. It was so good to see him....
He was on his way up to a friend's camp to help clear brush and dead wood. Work has put their "at risk" their staff on furlough, and those remaining, like Colin, are down to 3 days a week. The state has put all fire fighter EMT courses and exams on a 5 month hold, so he's not sure how all that will work out. Difficult times....
On her way back home from the beach yesterday, Sue stopped off at the food store to pick up a few things. She mentioned that she had found some items that had not been in stock for several days. I suspect, though, that with this new shelter in place order that folks will be on a scramble to stock up. May 4th is a month out, and we're fortunate that we have 2 fridges to hold stuff. It's going to be a long haul.
But trust me, I have no intention of filling this site with ramblings of my experiences flushing the toilet or watching the grass start to come up. There's nothing to do but do what you love with who you love, and enjoy the time you have.
Sue and I will be quite happy to torment each other over the backgammon board, and debate which movie to watch without sharing with the world.
She will be out in the dirt working on her gardens and flower beds at every opportunity the weather permits, and I have a ton of projects I'm working on as well as several books to read to keep me busy.
You know, I've not only taught in my karate program, but practiced, that life without passions, without goals, or something to strive for other than getting up and going to work, is so very important.
Being officially old now at 70, I see so many folks my age — and even much younger — who have no real passions in their lives. Some are just so busy with work that they don't
realize when they retire that there's only so many times you can go golfing or fishing or cutting the grass.
I am so blessed that my mother taught me the wonders of reading early in my childhood. That reading has brought to my attention so many different things, many of which have become passions of mine: martial arts, sailing, reading, programming, writing, business, backgammon, cooking, foreign currency trading, history, philosophy, wine, psychology, meditation, and science.
I'm proud of how accomplished I became in each of those pursuits. None came easy; all were wrenched out of life like you would harvesting potatoes. But none of it was work. A passion is not work; it's a joy. And I have truly enjoyed my life, and the pursuits I have engaged myself in.
But it is sad for me to see so many folks who were never shown opportunities that they could become passionate about. For them, the only things of consequence in their lives is only having an inordinate recall of useless baseball statistics, or an absurd interest in silly, mindless sitcoms, or worse: drowning their thoughts in the cloud of alcohol.
In today's environment of fear of what this COVID-19 may do to our lives, someone with no passion in their life is only left to deal with their inner demons.
We all fear, but instead of stopping there, we must go beyond that fear and think, speak, and act with joy. Just for today.... Tomorrow might not be there for us, so just do it today. And if tomorrow comes: do it then, too.
And don't do it just for yourself. Do it for, and with, someone you love. We may not persist, but our love will. It's as the Dakota Native American Proverb states: "We will be known forever by the tracks we leave." I've long tried to live my life according to the Hopi principle of life:
03/29/20: Progress On My Online Currency Trading Course!
I'm currently finishing up with writing an extensive online course on currency trading in the FOREX market to complement the work I do in my trading company Longwood Currency Trading. The course so far has the equivalent of about 60 typed pages, and will have quite a few videos as part of it as well. I'm also building a YouTube page for Longwood Currency Trading, which will be interesting.
I've done a few of the videos so far, but have not posted anything. The videos are all pretty rough, though I may just decide to use them anyway. The first one I did was totally off the cuff, and unrehearsed.
I just felt like recording, so I turned on my webcam, and did it. It was a wintry day in February, and I had just come in from hauling logs in from the woodpile for the wood stove. Quite an entertaining spectacle....
Speaking of recording videos: Whew! It took me some time getting up to speed in all of that again. I had done a couple of videos for an old business I had at one time, LiveNow Adult Life Mentoring, so I had the basics of that down. Those videos were awful as I was just sitting there talking, and trust me — I truly suck at sitting there looking stupidly at the camera trying to make sense.
So, for two of the three trading videos I've done: I'm up at the white board pacing and ranting as I talk, and — as you know — that's pretty much me in action. Thus my tag: entertaining spectacle....
I do need a better camera and mic, so that's on the wish list to get — though all that has to wait until I'm sure anyone will even be interested in watching them! I can think of a lot better things to do with about $500 than buy a new camera to record videos no one is going to watch....
I do need to get different editing software, though. This Microsoft Movie Maker application that comes free with Windows is awful. Well, not awful, but meager for sure — in not only it functionality, but in its ease of use. Well, yeah: It's "easy" to use if all you want to do is throw some text onto the film, or add intro pages, but to splice efficiently.... that is stupid.
Now that I write about it, maybe I should just get on with it and buy a new app and be done with it. That way I can get proficient in its use before I have to go into full video production mode editing the 14 or so videos I think I'll need for the YouTube page as well as those for the course.
This post is excessive, and borders on being about as interesting as someone bitching about their hemorrhoids....
04/03/20: Kicking Off April
Friday 04/03 as we were relaxing in the living room watching a movie just after dinner, Mia did a video call to Sue. We had quite the laugh with her as she's only 4, and no patience for chit chat.
Marissa had got her to call to thank Sue for getting her the Doctor Seuss book, Fox In Socks. It had just arrived in the mail, and Mia seemed to be excited about that. So, that's a good way to start of the first weekend in April for sure!
Sue was out the door early to take a photograph of a local family. She had read online about a photographer who had started an initiative called The Front Door Project.
It's where local photographers are encouraged to reach out to folks in isolation during the COVID-19 crisis. The idea is that the photographer drives over to the house, and from a distance takes a picture of the family standing on their front steps, or porch as sort of a "We'll all get thorough this together," type of statement.
The photographer sends the pictures to the family, who in turn, if they are capable, send some sort of donation to the local authorities to be distributed to those in need during this crisis. Anyway, Sue thought it was a wonderful idea, and posted herself as available on the local community web page. She, and I think the family as well, enjoyed the process fully, and the family will be sending a donation to a local charity.
But as soon as Sue got back home, it was all hands on deck to get dinner started. I had never cooked raw beans before, and had grabbed a big bag last time we went shopping. So, Sue had soaked them in water overnight, and I was to help her get the rest of the meal ready as fast as we could as she wanted it to simmer for 6 hours.
So, I chopped onion, ham cubes, garlic, and what-not as directed, and got everything to a boil and then down to a simmer just after noon. After that got going, we decided to haul in some wood for the wood stove as it was supposed to be chilly for the next couple of nights. Interestingly, we grabbed the last of the 2 cords that had been stacked between the trees by the driveway, and started into the wood that the guys had just thrown into a pile when they split it last fall.
Sunday 04/05 we took about two-thirds of a mile walk with Beau down the road in the afternoon. After we got back, I got a fire going in the wood stove, poured out some Chardonnay, and we played about an hour of backgammon before heading into the kitchen to fix dinner.
Sue had bought some haddock at the store, and I was tasked with herbs and spices. And that's a stretch for me because I'm not a real fish eater and don't have a real sense of how to season. Sue started crunching up some crackers and told me to get on with it, so I grabbed some parsley, crushed black pepper, and some other spices that I thought might work out.
Toasting to the fish baking in the oven.
It actually came out quite good, but I have no real memory of exactly what I used for herbs and spices.... But it was good! Sue suggested we fix some mixed vegetables to go with it, and that did pair well. Good dinner! And the movie of the night was the classic 1942, Casablanca.
Monday 04/06 was bright and sunny, and of course Sue was outside in the middle of things for quite awhile. We had even sat outside by the barn reading for awhile later that afternoon after Sue got done digging around.
We had bought some fresh beef from a local farm, and thought we'd break the grill out for the first time this year, and grill up some hamburgers for this great Monday 04/06/20. Sue fixed a killer potato salad that was so good, I just felt like I was on a great picnic!
Sue getting the fire going in the grill instead of the wood stove!
By the way, the box you see in the picture sitting on the barn floor is Sue's recent acquisition. She has always wanted to have an outside gas fire pit, saw one advertised online at Home Depot, and bought it. It was delivered yesterday, and she's chomping at the bit to set it up....
Sue and I wishing everyone a Happy Easter during this COVID-19 pandemic crisis time.
Not only was it Easter Sunday, but it was Colin's birthday. We took Beau with us, and drove over to see him.
Sue hid some little gifts and candy for him in the yard, and we watched him retrieve them, and did a distance drive-by hug. Frustrating, but this COVID-19 pandemic requires us to all be so careful.
Then we drove over to Marissa's and did the same with her, Gary and Mia - who Sue had made up a nice little Easter goodie bag for her.
04/13/20: Colin's SUV Totaled
Colin called me Monday afternoon to let me know that though he was okay, his SUV was totaled. Seems a delivery SUV in front of a car ahead of him had made a sharp illegal left hand u-turn. Everyone had slammed on their brakes, but not soon enough. He really liked that SUV as it was just right for hauling his jet ski and snowmobile around.
04/17/20: Drive-by Distance Hugs
Sue and I drove up to Ossipee, NH late morning 04/17/20 to give drive-by distance hugs to her brother Alan, and then to her 83 year old aunt Carol.
Sue had made up a vase of daffodils from her garden for Carol that we left on her porch as we waved at her. It was such a nice day that after leaving her house, we took the long way home up through Moultonboro.
Ethan and his dad came over just after 8:30am to cut some tree limbs down for us, and help out with a couple of other things.
After they left, and I finished my coffee, I headed off to do one of my marvelous dump runs with 5 big leaf bags of leaves, brush, and small winter-fall Sue had been collecting over the last couple of weeks.
The rest of the afternoon was doing the prep work and then monitoring the pork roast we made for dinner. We ended up the evening with the 2018 movie A Star Is Born. A terrific day!
04/22/20: Maybe THIS is the last snow?
We woke up Wednesday morning to about a half an inch of snow. Again! And this is Earth Day!
It'll be gone by noon, but it's just the principle of the thing to have it still snowing this far after Easter! And the start of boating season, which around here is April 15th.
It was really chilly last night, so I got a nice fire going in the wood stove. And that could be the last fire for the season as well, though I think tonight will be cold enough to have one. I really enjoy the wood stove, so I'll probably do some sort of small fire until it's so warm out we open the windows.
Sue caught this great shot of a very intent Beau.
After I thought we had settled into a movie, Sue fired us all up to drive up to the ridge to catch the sunset. It was spectacular.
Sunset from the top of the ridge.
04/23/20: Waterfalls Hike
Thursday was so nice that Sue organized a quick hike for us to take Beau over to the waterfalls off the local Rail Trail.
04/24/20: We Got Served by The Clarks
Sue and I were enjoying our Friday night pizza with our wine as we played backgammon, and so I sent a note off to Chuck that it was Pizza Friday. We got served on that one. He sent the following picture back of their — what appears to be homemade — pizza with the whole crew showing it down.... We got served....
Recovering from being "served" Friday night by The Clarks, here's a shot Sunday night 04/26/20 of Sue's homemade naan bread to go with the Middle Eastern Mujadara — Lemony Lentils and Rice With Caramelized Onions — that I was putting together for our Sunday Dinner Party For Two.
Back at-cha, Clarks!
Sue's naan bread.
Unbelievable! It's snowed pretty good through most of Monday morning up here on the mountain. Big, wet, heavy flakes. But nothing stuck for long because the ground was too warm. But it snowed!
04/28/20: Out Shopping For Plants
We've been waiting for a good day to take a long drive up to Wayside Farms in Sandwich, NH. Sue's had some Spring and other later blooming plants and flowers that she's wanted to get, so today Tuesday 04/28/20 was it!
She's so familiar with that area that she took us on many of the back roads. What a wonderful drive — just over an hour or so. Spring is really trying to break out, but there are still large swaths of snow on the ground in the hills surrounding Sandwich. Beautiful.
Unfortunately, she was only able to find a few of the things she was looking for, and suggested that we drive down to Spider Web Gardens in Tuftonboro, NH to see what they might have.
But before that, she just had to have some ice cream at her favorite place in the world, the Sandwich Creamery. She's taken me there a couple of times, and the ice cream is outstanding. No argument from me on going there!
It was about a 30 minute drive to Spider Web Gardens, but again the back roads are so pretty up here. We walked all around, and Sue did find most of what she was looking for, but it's still so early in the season for some of what she needs that we may just have to organize another trip up here in a couple of weeks!
After we got home and were settling in for the day, 3 deer walked out of the woods and started chomping on some of the low hanging tree branches — they like some tress, but not others and I have no clue. But after Sue got some pictures of them, she shooed them away.
Sue picking some stock at the Spider Web Gardens, Tuftonboro, NH
I think this deer in the yard was startled when Sue took its picture because it sprang off into the woods, taking the others with it.
04/30/20: A Real Down East Day
We woke up to a cold, pelting rain Thursday morning, which turned into a heavy fog by early afternoon. Sue grabbed her camera, and scooped me and The Beau Dog up for a picture taking adventure.
Though the fog was really thick and heavy up here on the mountain, it was lighter down in the valley. Sue thought she might find some interesting shots out at Merrymeeting Lake, and so off we went.
Merrymeeting Lake in the fog.
Sue got this great shot of the trees along the far shore blanketed in the fog.
Sue is all set now, and would have just stayed right there all night if she could have.
05/03/20: Mia Boating Adventure
Marissa had posted these really cute pictures of Mia out on the boat. Too cute for words
05/03/20: Great Dinner Party For Two
Sunday 05/03/20 we had a mah-vo-louse Dinner Party For Two of sauteed garlic pesto shrimp in a light parsley cream sauce.
05/04/20: Seasons First Hike Up Pine Mountain
Because it was such a beautiful day on Monday 05/04/20, Sue wanted to take Beau and me for our first hike up Pine Mountain. What a spectacular view of the lake!
Beau having a sip of water from the flask Sue brought with her.
What a great view over to the harbor in Wolfeboro, NH.
05/05/20: Spectacular Full Moon
Sue caught this spectacular shot of the full moon rising over the tree line behind the house Tuesday evening 05/05/20 just after 8:00 pm.
05/06/20: Beau Has a 'Triple S', and Visit to Ossipee, NH
Wednesday 05/06/20 was a 'Beau Triple S Day', or as my brother Alan called it: "Shit, Shower, and Shave." He took a dump in the woods on his morning walk with Sue, and then we drove him up to Wolfeboro to the dog groomer who gave him a shampoo bath and a trim. He was some glad to get out of there and into the car.
From there we stopped off at the Dunkin Donuts for lunch sandwiches and coffee before heading up for a visit with Sue's brother Alan, and then on to give some bright yellow daffodils to her Aunt Carol.
We took the back roads home, and some of the views were just spectacular. We left the house around 10:30 am, but didn't get back home until 2:30 pm. A long, but fun day. Even Beau enjoyed it after his traumatic experience at the groomers!
After picking up lunch, we pulled into a parking area in Wolfeboro by the river to let Beau out and eat. Gad, he really looks different! He didn't care, and tried rolling around in the dirt. Sue had a grip on him though.
I'm just waving at the camera with my cup of coffee while Alan tosses a couple of doggie treats to Beau.
Spectacular views from the road in Tuftonboro. You can still see snow on a couple of runs over on Gunstock across the valley. Temps today hit 57, and the buds on the trees are popping out everywhere.
05/07/20: Great Dinner Leftovers and Full Moon Picture Road Trip
Thursday 05/07/20 dinner we had leftovers from our Sunday Dinner For Two of sauteed garlic pesto shrimp in a light parsley cream sauce, but with a twist.
Shrimp with a twist: fried dandelion flowers
The twist was a side of fried dandelion flowers that Sue had picked in the woods. She made a tempura batter (flour, egg whites, and water) to which I added (because I can't help myself...) parsley, garlic, chives, black pepper, and just a dash of curry powder. We coated the dandelion flowers with the batter, and fried them up in vegetable oil until crisp.
They came out really good — surprisingly. Though next time I think I'd let them marinate in the batter for a few minutes as crunching into some of the larger flower buds did have a sort of sharpness to them. Maybe more curry? Or some sherry? Hummmm....
So, after dinner we're in the living room watching a movie, and I notice Sue twisting around on the sofa and peeking out the window. I just knew something was up here. Sure enough, by 9:30 she just couldn't take it anymore, and called for everyone to pile into the car for a photography adventure!
Out the door The Beau Dog and I go to get the car in motion as Sue gathered her camera gear together. And we were off for a short, but wonderful drive chasing the full moon for that perfect shot. But of course, pictures never do the moon justice....
Full moon from across a farm's vast, open field.
05/08/20: Another Great Friday Pizza-pizza Party!
Friday night 05/08/20 we had yet another great pizza party as we sipped our wine and played backgammon. Just had to post it up!
We got over 5 inches on the ground, and the tree limbs were bent with the weight of the heavy snow. And I'm sure that wind knocked a bunch of tress down somewhere. Wow! The 9th of M-a-y....
05/10/20: Bright Mother's Day For Sue
The sun was out Sunday morning for a beautiful Mother's Day. Though the wind was still rocking the trees in the woods, splattering white, billowy clouds across the sky.
Sue had wonderful conversations with both Jill and Lucas during the afternoon. After she finished up chatting with Lucas, I got a fire going in the wood stove, poured out some wine for us, and we sat in the living room playing backgammon and just relaxing until we had to go in and get dinner going.
05/11/20: Drive in The Rain For The Hell of It!
Monday 05/11/20 we had torrential rains and strong winds sweep down on us starting early afternoon. Sue thought it would be fun just to get out of the house and take a drive in the rain before it got too bad.
So, off we went with The Beau Dog hanging out the window. We didn't go to far; only out an hour or so. But by the time we got back it was thundering and the rain was picking up pretty good. Beau beat it quickly into the house and hid!
05/16/20: First Kayak Adventure of the Season
While Sue was out walking The Beau Dog, I got all the gear out and kayaks ready for our first kayaking adventure of the season Saturday 05/16/20. We had wanted to take our first kayaking trip Mother's Day, but with all the snow and cold weather, we decided to wait.
Sue is totally in her element! She could have stayed out there alllll day with no problem, though the wind was blowing pretty good and it got a little chilly out there.
Though a little breezy still, the temperature rose into the high 60s as we pushed off into the choppy water. There were only a few times that the wind was so bad that paddling was really tough. The gusts were sometimes really strong, but I didn't see any white caps on the river or pond.
05/17/20: Garden Shopping
Sue has been working on a small flower garden plan for around Marissa's mail box for her birthday. Because of all the cold weather, we had to wait until today to gather up the last of them. On our 04/28/20: Out Shopping For Plants trip she had only been able to find about half of what She had wanted, and so today was find the rest!
This is the line at Wentworth Gardens at 9:30 this morning! They were only letting a few in at a time, and it took us 40 minutes just in line to start looking for what we needed. Almost everyone was wearing a mask, but there were a few shits that just think it doesn't concern them....
We drove over to Marissa's, and Sue placed the plants around the mail box in somewhat of a suggested order based on when they would come up and what the colors are.
And another first: Sunday Dinner Party For Two out on the screen porch!