Category: Family

Goodbye Old Friend

FamilyWhining

I guess this is it for my beloved 1995 Nissan Pickup.  It failed the Virginia safety inspection because the frame is rotting out, and there is no way to fix it.  Bastards!  I could have gotten another year out of it driving on a frame with rust holes in it,  because safety.

This truck is the first new vehicle I’ve ever had. It’s been back and forth between Michigan and Virginia countless times; it’s been to the beach even more often than that (see pic below from Google Earth of our place at the beach.  Yep, there she is sitting in the parking lot).  It’s hauled dozens of couches and chairs to and from various places… misty watercolor memories…  The truck has served me well for these twenty years.  And the 15 payment-free years have been kinda nice too!

Click on the first picture to embiggen, then click off to the right to go through the pictures.

 

Happy Yule!

Cliff Claven modeEatingFamilyScience!

solsticeToday is the winter solstice here in Freedom’s Land.  On the east cost, where I am, that occurs at 6:03 this evening a little while after the Lions beat the Bears. [UPDATE: 20-14 Lions!]

That means that today is the shortest day of the year and technically the days should be getting longer starting tomorrow.  Yay!  But don’t pull out that seed catalog quite yet, it’s still going to look pretty wintery for a while longer.

Winter Solstice occurs when the sun’s daily maximum height in the sky is at its lowest, and the North Pole is tilted furthest away from the sun. This results in the least number of daylight hours and the longest night of the year.

The length of a solar day varies because the axis of the Earth’s rotation is tilted – 23.5 degrees from vertical – and because its speed fluctuates as it orbits the sun, accelerating when it is closer to the star’s gravitational pull and decelerating when further away.

It takes a while for the clock and the solar days to align: evenings draw in towards their earliest sunset a couple of weeks before the shortest day, and mornings continue to get darker until a couple of weeks after.

Back in the day, Winter Solstice was called “Yule” and northern Europeans used to burn a huge Yule log to keep away the night (the original fire pit), and to celebrate the coming longer days by eating while the log was burning.  That’s why Yule logs are huge – so they would burn as long as 12 days (12 days of Christmas), in order that the celebratory eating would last as long as possible.  The wisdom of the ancients runs deep.

Julian’s First Soccer Game

FamilySports

With one practice under their belts, Team Green had their first game the very next day. And even thought the temperature was over 100 degrees, they won easily, scoring many more goals that Team Blue.  The first score of the game came about 25 seconds after the game started.  Julian took the ball, and just went up the field and scored.  After the game, the team celebrated with the traditional water and orange slices.

Click on the first picture below, then click anywhere on right side of the image to move through the pictures.

Labor Day Beach Report

EatingFamilyLoafing

P1010542Brenda, Amanda, and I, along with four dogs spent the long Labor Day weekend at the beach.  It was glorious!  Saturday started out a little cloudy as you can see in the picture on the left.  That’s Amanda on her bike, ready to ride to the beach.  In about an hour the clouds disappeared.  The water temperature was perfect.  I spent more time in the water floating like a manatee in 2 days than I have during all the summer visits this year combined.  Last night, Brenda and I went into Rehoboth and had P1010315dinner at Claws.  It was great of course, plus I had a leftover fish breakfast this morning.  Bonus!

The only downside is that Labor Day traditionally marks the end of summer. Absolutely unbelievable how fast the summer went this year.  Once again, I feel as though I’ve wasted the summer.

Marshall Crenshaw wrote an angry song back in the early 1970’s, called “Summer’s Over.”  Some lyrics:

“I put my foot through my TV screen when I got up today…I’m mad, cause summer’s over.”

That song runs through my mind every Labor Day.

Gabe and Erin Married!

Family

Gabe and Erin were married yesterday! The weather was perfect.  It was a beautiful, sunny, and unseasonably warm December day.  The ceremony was at our house out on our evergreen festooned lower deck.  After the ceremony, the whole wedding party went to an Italian restaurant.  Bride and groom stayed at a Hilton in Northern Virginia, and spent the next day sightseeing in D.C.  Julian spent a fun-filled day with grandma.  Pictures coming soon.  No, really.  Soon…ish…

[Update 12/7] I uploaded some pictures right out of my camera, including some that could benefit from some time spent in Photoshop.  Let all the thumbnails load, then open the first one, and use your arrow key to move to the next.  I’ll fix it up and make it better soon.

Julian in Ancient Garb

FamilyMusic

Here’s my grandson Julian wearing one of my brother Gary’s old “Desserts” t-shirts. Desserts was the name of Gary’s band back in the early ’70s. So that would be like me wearing a medieval jerkin…or something. So old…so old…

Anyway, it fits Julian to a “T” – heh.

Speaking of Desserts, look what the google found:  an ancient recording of “Bernadette” performed by Desserts several thousand years ago at the Royal Oak Music Theater (I think).  “Bernadette” was one of my favorite Desserts songs back then.  I’s a clever and catchy  song about Motown Records leaving Detroit, using snippets of other Motown songs.   It was written by local guy Stuart Mitchell, and  in this version, Gary Rosenberg is singing. I believe Motown songwriter/artist Eddie Kendricks also recorded it in the early ’80s.

Give it a listen:

 

Julian Turns One Year Old!

Family

Julian had his first birthday yesterday.  Erin and Gabe had a party for him at our house.  It was a great time, especially for the birthday boy.  Lots of presents, lots of great food, lots of friends.  Here are a few pictures and  a video.

Yard Sale

Family


Here are a couple pics of the aftermath of the yard sale we had today. This is the the stuff no one wanted. Unwanted junk. So sad. Gabe and Erin were the driving force behind this, and by Gabe and Erin, I mean of course, Erin. It went very well. They made over $200. But as you can see from the pics, the pink Snuggy did not sell. I’m shocked! Amanda sold some clothes and odds and ends including her old stereo. Brenda, Gabe, Erin, and Amanda were at it all day, and did a good job – most successful yard sale I’ve ever been involved in. While they shmoozed with the customers, I installed a new alternator in my truck. And by “installed a new alternator in my truck” I mean of course “yelled at my truck.”

Red Velvet

Bawndo! It's what plants craveClown shoesEatingFamilyGeneral StupidityRecipes

Sorry, forgot to post for a couple days. I know you’re clicking the page all day long hoping for a post.  And I disappointed you.  Again.  Well, dry those tears, here’s something boring and banal!  At last!

Amanda invited John over for dinner. Gabe, Erin and Julian were supposed to come over, but Gabe isn’t feeling well, so they stayed home. Too bad – their loss. Amanda wanted a chuck roast, natch’. So we had that, potatoes and gravy, and those garlic beans everyone seems to like. And a red velvet cake. Yum!  Good food and interesting conversation – a good night.

Oh, on a humorous note, while I was making the gravy, I unscrewed the pepper cap on one of those huge Costco bottles of pepper and, funny thing, someone had removed the plastic strainer from the bottle so I dumped about a pound of pepper into the gravy.  HA!  It’s funny because it didn’t happen to you!  So we had powdered gravy mix instead.  Delicious!

Last time we had the beans, Erin wanted the recipe, so here you go:

1# green beans – French style are nice
3 tablespoons or so soy sauce
1 tablespoon or so balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar or Splenda
2 tablespoons or so sesame oil
2 teaspoons of crushed garlic

Steam the beans until tender, but not too soft. Cook the garlic for a minute or so in the sesame oil. Mix up the soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar and dump that in with the oil and garlic, then add the beans amd mix them up so that they are coated with the sauce. Eat the beans.

New Computer

FamilyTechnology

Hey!  I bought a new computer last night!  Not that I need one.  My Mac was only 10 years old – still good, right?  I got a Toshiba Satellite laptop and am having way too much fun.

I plugged the memory card from my camera into the computer in order to play with images, and of course, there were no images on it.  But I did find a 2 year-old movie of Nick’s first birthday.  So I played with that.  It was my first attempt to use the video feature on the camera.  Sorry.

Weather

To display your local weather, click on the 3 short lines at the top right of the widget. Delete “Washington D.C.,” and start typing the name of your nearest fairly large city. When the correct city appears in the drop down list, select it.  Wait for the Page to reload, and there’s your weather. The page should remember your city.

Washington
76°
Fair
06:2819:53 EDT
Feels like: 76°F
Wind: 3mph WSW
Humidity: 84%
Pressure: 29.91"Hg
UV index: 0
5h6h7h
76°F
75°F
75°F
ThuFriSat
94/73°F
76/63°F
80/64°F

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