Goodbye 2009

(Yesterday’s snow.)

Winter has officially arrived.  Nevermind things like the date or the solstice.  It’s the first good snow that indicates the official arrival of winter to me.  This is the kind of snow that sticks around for a while.  The kind where it continues to accumulate until the spring melt or (if we’re lucky) the January thaw (somewhat similar to Indian summer only colder).

Although we’ve had a slight warm-up today (mid-30’s), the base of this snow is probably going to stick around for a while as new snow comes to us via cold fronts and the Lake Erie snow machine.  Hopefully we’ll be able to go cross-country skiing soon.

So.  Here we are at the end of another year.  They sure do fly by fast.  2009 has been a mixed year for me, with the birth of a new granddaughter (Madison Grace), the marriage of our youngest son and his lovely bride, and the death of my mother.  There has also been a mix of old and new in terms of travel and everyday life.  M and I went to New Orleans in April.  He had been to New Orleans a few times in the past but this was his first visit since Katrina and my first visit of all time.  We went to Colorado to visit with M the Younger and his wife, and to hike in the Rocky Mountains.  Colorado was another first for me.

(Maddy & Mom.)

2009 has been an interesting year, that’s for sure.  I’m kind of hoping 2010 will be a little more mellow.

With the new year quickly approaching, I’ve been thinking about plans and goals and resolutions.  Every year I think, “I’m not going to make resolutions this year.”  And every year I make them.  I may call them plans and goals but let’s face it, they’re resolutions.  There is something about the change of a calendar year that entices me to contemplate change.  I know that every moment is an opportunity to start over or to make changes, but a whole new year spread out before me almost demands resolutions of some sort, even one as simple as “I won’t make resolutions this year.”

Last year my plans and goals (resolutions) theme was “progress, not perfection.”  I kept track of some of my progress with stickers on the calendar and a quick flip through shows that I did well with some of my projects (such as exercise) about 80% of the time.  That’s pretty good progress to me.  I’ve lost some weight, my blood pressure is good, and aside from this end of the year cold and ear infection, I’ve stayed pretty healthy.

My theme for 2010 is Simplify.  I want to organize and declutter and make life a little less complicated.  I have specific projects, plans, and goals to help me with my main resolution, but won’t list them all here.  I’ve been taking stock over the past few months, getting prepared to simplify my life.  I’m ready for it.

Along with that, there are the usual health-related goals including a return to the mileage goal which for 2010 is 1200 miles.  Between the walking, the hiking, the running, and the elliptical, I should be able to accomplish that.  I’m going to go back to being mostly vegetarian, “mostly” being applied because I will still eat fish and seafood.

There are a few other items in between.  I’ll reset the 50 Books Project for the year.  Although it’s one of those goals I can’t seem to meet, it’s always worth striving for.  I read 28 books this year, less than previous years (39 in 2008).  It wasn’t a good year for reading and during those times when I had little energy to do anything else, I couldn’t concentrate enough to read.  I hope 2009 will be better.  There are so many books on my reading list that it would probably take a few lifetimes to read them all.

So, goodbye 2009.  You brought fun, adventure, life lessons, sadness, grief, joy, laughter, beginnings, endings, and fullness.  I am grateful for the all of the gifts, even those that were hard to accept, and especially thankful for the blessings of love, family, and friends who helped fill the year.

M and I usually attend First Night in Akron to usher out the old year and bring in the new, but we’ll be staying in tonight.  The cold and ear infection I acquired last week are stubbornly hanging on and I don’t feel up to walking around in the cold and snow.  I think a quiet New Year’s Eve will be a nice change of pace.  Perhaps it will also set the mood to mellow for 2010.

A quiet moment

(Playing Mario Kart, the Wii generation.)

It’s been a busy holiday season here in the Bogs, leading to one of the longest breaks I’ve taken from the blog since I started it way back when (“way back when” being a euphemism for “I’m too lazy to look it up”).  Currently, Dad and M are watching the Eagles (football), the homemade chicken pot pie (which is not a pie but is cooked in a pot) is cooling, and I thought it high time I posted something.

I’m not sure busy was the correct word for this holiday season.  Full might be more appropriate.  Full of family, full of celebrations, full of love, full of all kinds of emotions, and full of a variety of weather which went from icy and snowy to a rainy warm-up and is headed back to icy and snowy again very soon.

(Maddy with her Great Grandfather.)

We’ve had the good fortune to spend two weekends in a row with our granddaughters, something I think is one of the best gifts of the season.  Of course that meant spending time with our oldest son and his wife, the wonderful parents of our marvelous granddaughters.  M the Younger and his lovely wife came in from Colorado for a brief visit.  And my father has been here since the 17th, getting through Christmas as best he can without Mom.  Having him spend Christmas with us seems to have been a good idea.  He has mentioned a few times that it would have been much harder for him at home with the ghosts (memories) of past Christmases.  Being here is something different for him.  Even so, we’ve both had moments of thinking Mom was somewhere else in the house, expecting her to be upstairs when we were downstairs or the other way around, because this is Dad’s first visit with us without Mom.

Taking out the holiday decorations was heavy with sadness for me, sorting through the decorations that Mom made for us or gave to us throughout the years.  I took a time-out, spent a few moments off on my own talking with Mom and wishing her a Merry Christmas.  It helped, a little.  I felt like she was here, in my memory and in my heart.  Maybe more than that.  Who knows?

Mostly it’s been good.  We saw the movie Avatar in 3D at an IMAX theater last Monday.  We all enjoyed it, being thoroughly entertained and marveling at the technology (especially Pop!).  We watched movies here at home on the large screen when we had some spare time.


Real bowling is harder than Wii bowling.  ~ Emma

Today we went bowling.  This was Emma’s first time at the real thing.  She did well, getting the hang of it pretty quickly.  The bumpers greatly improved my score (which would probably have been lower than Emma’s if we’d played without them!).  I’m not a good bowler, but I enjoy it in spite of my affinity for gutter balls and low scores.

I’ve been dealing with a cold that has turned into a nasty ear and sinus infection.  Two days of antibiotics have not improved things and I’m wondering if I have contracted a resistant-to-the antibiotic-I’m-on infection.  I hope not.  I’m currently mostly deaf in my right ear and have started developing pain and pressure in my left.  Hopefully the antibiotic will catch up with it soon and all will be well.

(Yesterday’s sunset view of the pond.)

That’s about it from the Bogs for now.  I hope all is well with you out there and that your holidays, whatever you may or may not be celebrating, were filled with joy.


Ever wonder…

… what Santa does on the off-season?

M and I spotted him in New Orleans when we were there last April.  A group of school children gave him their Christmas wish-lists early after he proved — by way of his driver’s license — that he really is Santa Claus.

Season’s Greetings

I retired my camera for a little while, not having much of interest to photograph these days.  The weather has been the usual December gray, but warmer and with rain instead of snow.

My father is coming for a visit.  He’ll be arriving here on Thursday evening.  Since he doesn’t normally spend Christmas with us out here in the Bogs, perhaps it’ll make the holidays a little bit easier for him.  We’ll be getting together with my branch of the family (oldest son, his wife, granddaughters, M the Younger and his wife) so things should be pretty lively.

I’ll probably be around here and there over the next few weeks, but don’t expect to be blogging on a regular basis.  It feels good to take a little break from all things blog-related.  It has also given me the opportunity to catch up on some reading (magazines, books, articles on the internet, etc.) and, sometimes, just do nothing except relax, play, and enjoy life.

I saw the above animation on television yesterday (on CBS Sunday Morning) and thought I’d share it with you.

Whatever holiday you’re celebrating this season, I wish you a joyful one.

Photo Friday: Winter

(Today’s view of the pond.)

This week’s Photo Friday is Winter.  Since I took a few shots of the pond today, admiring how the ice is forming in swirls, I thought I’d go ahead and post one.

Have a great weekend!


Rock on

(Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, side view at night.  Cleveland, Ohio.)

At the risk of sounding redundant, and maybe (more than) a little lame, the Rock Hall rocked.  And I have to tell ya, I wasn’t expecting that.  I was prepared to suffer through it, enjoying the bits I wanted to see and dragging myself along for the rest.  I figured it was going to be guitars and costumes with more guitars and costumes.  It is that.  But it is also more than that.

You may be wondering what the bits were that I wanted to see.  They happened to be temporary exhibits which is why we finally got our butts up there to visit the Rock Hall:  the time limit.  The first was From Asbury Park to the Promised Land:  The Life and Music of Bruce Springsteen.  Those that know me well saw that one coming.  I mean, I’m from New Jersey!  I had to go see it.  It’s practically in my blood.

Bruce Springsteen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999 along with Billy Joel, Curtis Mayfield, Paul McCartney, Del Shannon, Dusty Springfield, and The Staple Singers.   (For those interested in how the induction process works, you can read about it here.)  The Springsteen exhibit will run through the spring of 2010.

It was an interesting exhibit, especially looking at the progression of bands The Boss moved through in his younger days as well as the progression of his music.  His handwriting, by the way, is about as atrocious as M’s.  Well, maybe not quite.  Springsteen’s is at least somewhat readable.  I can’t say the same for M’s.

A little randomness:  I was surprised to see a flannel shirt in the exhibit that is very similar to one I own (and still wear occasionally).  Springsteen wore it for one of his album covers (I can’t remember which one).  My shirt is not as frayed and worn as his is, though.  It’s a shirt I bought on sale many years ago because it looked warm and comfortable.  It’s a man’s shirt (because in those days there were not a lot of flannel shirts made and sold exclusively for women), with black and pink in the plaid pattern.

(This is an admittedly poor shot of the Rock Hall from the front but, hey, the wind was whipping too hard — over 25 mph — for a tripod to stand.  Even I was having trouble standing, and standing still was almost impossible.)

The second thing I wanted to see was U2 3D, a 3D movie (“the first-ever, live-action digital 3D film”) of U2 in concert in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  The movie will be at the Rock Hall through January 2, 2010.  That was the time limit that made it almost crucial that we go now and not put it off any longer.  Once the Christmas holidays get into full swing, we won’t have time to go.  U2, by the way, were inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005.

It was an amazing experience in both sight and sound.  Having Bono up close and personal in 3-D format reinforced the star-crush I have on him.  It was almost as good as being in the audience.  Better, maybe, in that I could actually see the performers.  With the price of concerts these days (especially to see a band as big as U2), we usually end up in nose-bleed territory where the performers all appear to be very tiny little people in a land far, far away.  The sound is always good but there isn’t much to see from up there unless you have a good pair of binoculars.

The wind I mentioned earlier brought with it rain early in the day and a high of about 51 degrees which dropped pretty quickly throughout the afternoon.  Before leaving for the Rock Hall M and I had lunch at home because the insulation guys we hired were here to pump insulation into the attic (mentioned, I think, in a previous post) and they didn’t finish until after noon.  While eating lunch I looked out the window and there was a beautiful rainbow.  It was unusual in its placement to the south.  We don’t usually see them in that direction.

The rainbow, I suppose, was a little gift to us as compensation for the weather that was to follow.  The drop in temperature eventually resulted in snow and even stronger winds.  It was a noisy night here at Breezy Acres.  Having removed some bushes near our bedroom window during our backhoe escapades earlier this year, the wind no longer whistles as much but stays in the lower register of moans, groans, howls, and creaks with the occasional banshee-type scream.

Today Lake Erie is doing its thing and we have been getting some lake-effect snow.  The winds keep it from accumulating in an even fashion.  There are drifts here and there, and some slick spots on the road from where the snow likes to gather.  It might be time to put up the snow fences.

(This morning’s view of the pond.)

There had been some freezing of the pond but yesterday’s warm-up and the gusty winds that came with the cold are keeping it from freezing again.  Once the wind settles down, I expect we’ll see ice forming again.

Happy, happy


So.  I’m another year older, perhaps a little wiser, but the jury is still out on that one.  I had a lovely birthday.  M and I did a little Christmas shopping and then went to Crave for dinner.  The food and service were, as always, excellent.

Thanks to everyone who left birthday greetings and wishes.  🙂

M and I are headed up to Cleveland today to visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  We’ve been outside of it many times but never inside.  I’m looking forward to seeing the U2 movie.

There is snow in the forecast for later today.  Wind advisories starting this morning.  I’m not sure which is worse.  Probably the wind.   At least the snow doesn’t knock out the power.

That’s about it from the Bogs for now.  I’m beginning to think my life is much too dull for blogging.