On Reminiscing

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For those desiring applicable background music while reading, just click the video.

 

Sometime during the first half of my teaching career, I recall a conversation at the lunch table when another teacher asked about the best years of life. Some answered about having young children. I noticed a puzzled look of one lady (with 2 boys) who said, “You are crazy. The best years were in college.!” Then I (with no kids) turned for a high-five. Her answer didn’t surprise me because she was a huge college sports fan – a loyal follower of her Purdue Boilermakers.

My time at Bowling Green State University on the flatlands of northwest Ohio forged many of my best friendships. Those days began in September 1971, and I know if I need them today, my fellow Falcon friends would be there for me.

My first college roommate (Steve) and I now live 850 miles (1368 km) apart. We were friends throughout our college days, best man at the other’s wedding, and even collaborate on this blog (using his photos).

One day this past December, Steve sent me several texts with images. He said he was going through his files (deleting and filing) and wondered if I wanted them. It stirred memories that made me smile, which established the reason for a blog post.

 

First all, look at that hair!

This had to be fall of our sophomore year (1972, 19 years old). Steve was either still a journalism major at the time or was taking a photography class (an important hobby to him then and now). He asked me if I could be the subject of a collage he had to do for a class, so sure – that’s what friends are for – and the image above was the final product.

Bill, another friend throughout college, is my chess opponent. After graduation, he returned to his hometown near Buffalo, New York. We stayed in touch, then I discovered that he died in a car accident. He was very active and respected in his community – such a deep lose for them. Bill was also one heck of an athlete!

Yes, I was a member of the Falcon Marching Band for 5 years. (The sun always shines on the Falcon Marching Band.) I served as a squad leader for 2 years, plus I ended up meeting my future wife through band.

Two years before she came along, I had a crush on Diane – (who I think is) the curly haired lady, who was a twirler in band. We never dated, and her time at BG was very short – and I don’t think I ever saw her again. I loved my time in marching band, and wrote about one of my unexpected band moments on this past post (2011).

 

Sandy is another long-time friend and one of the best I’ve ever known. We met through Dwain, (her cousin) a fellow band member who happened to live beside Steve and I our first year. Sandy and I are sitting in a basement food area in my quad. She was in the group of us who hung around together all the time in college, and have stayed in touch ever since. Steve actually married a friend of hers who is from the same hometown. Sandy lives about an hour from me, while Dwain and I are about 300 miles (483 km) apart.

This post was about reminiscing back to a wonderful time – all stimulated from a collection of photographs from the distant past. For me, college was about being away from home with a degree of independence – life on my own while still having a home for the holidays, breaks, and the summer. Yes, a good transition toward the next step in life. Cheers to long-term friendships.

Special thanks to Steve for initiating this post by simply sending me the image. Now it’s time to enjoy a fitting song by Queen.

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On Time Before Me

Click the video for background music for this post.

The day before I was born, baseball great Ted Williams safely landed his damaged jet – for which he earned an Air Medal

One month before I was born, Tito became the first president of Yugoslavia – a position he held for 27 years

One year before I was born, a nor’easter blanketed New England

4 years before I was born, Chaim Weitzman elected first president of Israel

6 years before I was born, Voice of America began broadcasting to the Soviet Union

10 years before I was born, Sergei Rachmaninoff performed his last concert

15 years before I was born, first public experimental demonstration of Baird color TV occurred in London

20 years before I was born, the US Senate passes the Blaine Act to end Prohibition and first issue of Newsweek magazine appeared on newsstands

30 years before I was born, British Egyptologist Howard Carter found the sarcophagus of Tutankhamun (King Tut)

40 years before I was born, New York Armory Show introduced Picasso to American public

42 years before I was born, General Motors installed the first electric starter for a car into a Cadillac

49 years before I was born, opera Madame Butterfly debuted in Milan

52 years before I was born composer Gustav Mahler conducted the premiere of his Second Symphony

70 years before I was born, A. Ashwell patented the free-toilet in London

75 years before I was born, first telephone exchange in San Francisco opened with 18 phones

77 years before I was born sardines were first canned in Eastport, Maine

86 years before I was born, chocolate manufacturer William Cadbury was born and the first ship passed through Suez Canal

88 years before I was born, Union forces regained Fort Sumter (US Civil War)

117 years before I was born, the HMS Beagle and Charles Darwin left Tasmania

277 years before I was born, Kings Charles II (England) and Louis XIV (France) signed a secret treaty

355 years before I was born, Boris Godunov chosen tsar of Russia

1,589 years before I was born, Roman Emperor Jovian died

The day I was born was 17 February 1953

65 years after I was born, I celebrate another birthday with a historical look at February 17th – so the number salute to 65 will be soon.

Happy 65th Birthday from Mini-Me

 

On a Return

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Greetings fellow bloggers. I’ve missed your presence both here and on your blogs. Isn’t my personal greeter adorable?

Some have noticed that me snooping around with some visits, and (of course) my posted dedicated to #9 honoring the 9th anniversary of my little corner of the world.

The family is making progress with helping an elderly aunt. The task at hand seems monumental, but that’s not unexpected. We know there are several months of work ahead, so we don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel – but that will come. Hopefully the light won’t be another train.

There’s never a good time when it comes to dealing with elderly relatives. Good news is that we see progress on important milestones, plus our aunt is generally receptive to what we suggest. Unfortunately for us, our tasks were put on hold for a bit because of a long-planned vacation during August.

The Vacation

  1. A 5-hour drive to Chicago to eliminate a flight leg (each way) and for considerable financial savings
  2. Flew Chicago to Reykjavik to London Heathrow
  3. Spent 4 days in London (our first trip to the UK)
  4. Bused to Southampton to make the Caribbean Princess our home for 12 days cruising the British Isles (including a stop in France)
  5. Bused from Southampton to Heathrow for our flight to Reykjavik – instead of transferring to another flight, we stayed for 3 days
  6. Flew to Chicago, then made it to Cincinnati a few hours before the eclipse (about 90% coverage)

Our vacation was a good one, and I look forward to sharing various aspects about the trip with you. My apologies to my UK readers because I came to your wonderful region without stopping by to say hello. Our time in the ports are short, and we try to see as much as possible … and we stayed busy in London (which is easy to do).

Even though my plate remains full, I will return to posting on an irregular schedule. After all, I do have posts in the queue ready to go.

Hope all is well with everyone! … and here’s a fitting song for you.

On a Wall Project

Corks have a story. We may associate them with a vacation or a special occasion, Wineries make choices to display images, names, saying, regions, phone numbers, websites, and more.

Wine is a decorating theme in our home. Bottles, presses, and corks are easily found. (a past post)

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In terms of corks, all wine corks are not created equal.

  • In general, there are 3 types of corks: natural, composite, and plastic
    • Natural cork is from the inner bark of an oak tree (yes, primarily the Cork Oak)
    • The plastic even come in a variety of colors
    • To me, the composites resemble pressed sawdust bound by a resin
  • Corks have different lengths and diameters
  • If corks display printing, some are printed vertically, others horizontally
  • Some are printed the same on both sides, while others may have something different on the opposite side

corksvariety

This is a small cubby in our lower level. The angle on the upper left is the stairs. Some in our neighbors have a wet bar in the space, but we went with just the counter.

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This past January, my wife showed me an interesting image from Pinterest. I suggested we could do that in the lower-level cubby. After researching possible designs on Google Images, ideas were racing through my mind. The key question was original free-form/abstract or uniform? Measurements and calculations allowed me to estimated the need for 1050-1100 wine corks (if corks occupied the entire space).

After the easier-than-expected collection phase, I began designing. My initial thought was to put together a variety of designs on the mock-up to see what we liked and disliked. But, as I got going, I changed and tweaked as I progressed.

eclecticdesign

A few weeks later we were in a new restaurant for my birthday, and we saw several cork designs – and my wife liked a particular uniform design. Because I had so many corks, I created a second mock-up (in about 40 minutes) so we could compare.

During my cork collecting phase, I got an idea that friends thought was crazy. Whereas people were shocked to learn that I was on the prowl for 1000 corks – but then I told them I changed my goal to 1000 different corks – and no plastic ones.

With two prototype designs completed, my wife and I preferred different designs. While she found the eclectic design too busy, I found it easier on the eyes. Whereas she liked the uniformity of second design, it was a blurred to my eyes. So the challenge became to create something relatively uniform to fit her taste, yet be easy on my eyes.

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As for the actual construction, first step was cutting a piece of plywood to fit the back wall. This would serve as a surface for mounting the corks (as opposed to attaching them directly to the wall).

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All the advance work led us to cover the plywood with cork shelf paper. This could help add depth to our design.

The actual construction was a slow process. After all, in most cases, we glued the corks individually – most of the 800+ one by one. We did most of the work on a table. After attaching the board to the wall, we completed the project. Voilà!

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Factoids

  • Longest dimensions: Bottom row 48 in (122 cm); Right side 40 in (101 cm)
  • 860 corks used
  • Only 2 plastic corks (because they were special to me)
  • Plain/blank corks form a border around the design
  • From the 860, subtracting the border places and the horizontal row of corks from sparkling wines – yes – no duplicates are displayed in the remaining 727

On Spring 2016 Blog Break

PauseBreakKeyWith my wife’s retirement and our wedding anniversary, last week was huge for us. Tuesday afternoon was her retirement party at work, then Tuesday night came my salute to #31. She appreciated the many comments from my blogging community, so here’s her comment late in the string.

Thanks to all of you bloggers for the kind wishes in my new retirement life. If the Frank Angle disappears from the web for a while, it will either because we’re having such a good time that he’s never home, or our constant togetherness resulted in a homicide! I’m hoping for the former.

Here’s a snapshot of our happenings

Thursday

  • Her last work day, so she was home by noon
  • Walking our typical 2-mile loop … but in the afternoon
  • Dinner at Seasons 52 to celebrate her retirement and our upcoming anniversary

Friday

  • Breakfast out (@First Watch) to celebrate her first day off
  • Walked our loop
  • I worked 3-7
  • She went to dinner with neighbors who invited her
  • We met at the dance studio where I planned a surprise retirement celebration

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Saturday
Official 39th anniversary day – but in the evening we attended a birthday gathering for a friend

As I’ve written on these pages many times, Blog breaks are good. I try to take several per year, and I know the time for one is now. For me, the break won’t be one of total avoidance because I want to spend time visiting others. After all, I’ve been very negligent recently – which is one of the signs I use to determine the need for a break.

I’m envisioning two weeks, but time will tell. Because of the positive response for featuring Pink Martini, here’s a live version of Amado Mio to send you into my blog break. Meanwhile, remember these words from a great American storyteller – Garrison Keillor – Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On Easing a Return

Although I’m recovering from various aspects of life, I’m trying to ease myself back into the Land of WordPress. It’s not easy. Besides getting back into the swing of my life as a volunteer, ballroom dancer, blogger, and whatever else life brings my why, I’m suffering from jet lag and a withdraw from a travel med that is a story in itself. After all, this is where I’ve been.

SpainCruiseShip SpainPortugalCruiseMap

When cruising, I use the TransDerm patch (Scapalomine) for my motion sickness. It works well, but there is one possible side effect that I’m the lucky recipient … I get motion sickness 36-48 hours after coming off the drug – Woo Hoo! … and it’s very, very bad!!!!

I’ve learned to use over-the-counter meds to step-down the body, but also during this time, I must limit my computer time because the flashing screen quickly aggravates motion sickness … as does watching television, driving a car, and (or course) moving in a circle. In other words, no fun.

But hey – life will be normal soon – which means time to use this button.

Image from 123vectors.com

Image from 123vectors.com

 

On Fall Break 2015

Over the past few weeks, I have struggled with visiting other blogs and my own writing. Experience tells me that’s a sign of needing a blog break. Besides, I normally take one in the September-October time frame. So, the stars are aligning for me to take a blog break, thus I’m hitting the Pause button.

Most of my blog-break time will be Level 1 – Total Abstinence – however, I will creep a bit of Level 2 as I hope to write a little during that time. (For those needing more information about the levels of blogging breaks, click here.) To help separate myself during the break, I’m turning off my notifications. Meanwhile, my comments are On because I will be phasing myself into break oblivion.

Regular series as Monday Morning Entertainment and Satire Bits gave me a chance to share bits from my personal life, which many seemed genuinely interested. Now that those series are no more, so is my personal sharing – so going into the break is a good time for an update.

After my year off, I didn’t return to the handbell choir, but my wife still plays. They recently played this version the Led Zeppelin classic – Stairway to Heaven. (Consider playing it as your background music while reading).

My golf game started the season with a bang, but then I hit a 6-8 week spell of what I described as my worst golf in 30 years. However, I righted the ship.

For those who miss my list of monthly, weekly, and daily celebrations, I promised to provide my main sources – and here are the top 2 – this one and that one.

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Ballroom remains part of our life. You may recall that I doing a tango routine for a showcase event at a private studio. It’s not with my wife, but she approves of my partner. It’s been an interesting experience, but because of the time commitment, I’m not sure if I would do this again. Nonetheless, here’s the song – which is a tad fast, so we slowed it down.

I continue volunteering with ballroom dance for those with Down Syndrome and other disabilities. It’s a very rewarding experience, and I try to attend most of the weekly events. Unfortunately, this year I’m going to miss their competition, the event started my interest. (Remember this post?)

I recently started serving as a volunteer in an English Second Language (ESL) program for adults. It’s off to a good start. Regardless of their individual reasons for being in the US, each of them wants to improve their proficiency in English.

However, our season of ushering at plays is underway. We recently saw The Secret Garden, and young artist (Caitlin Cohn) in the lead role impressed both of us. We are curious to see how far she climbs on the ladder to stardom.

I’m a Christian who believes in Interfaith dialogue and efforts – both within Christianity AND between different religions. The Friday’s Interfaith ceremony at the 9-11 Memorial in NYC was very moving!

My initial plan is to stay away 3-5 weeks, but time will tell. I encourage you to visit bloggers you may not know -the good people listed on my Sidebar and those on the Blogroll page – especially the New Acquaintances section. Regarding all bloggers listed today, I hope to reorganize them in the future.

To lead you into my break, here are several videos for you to enjoy. Take your pick – a singing two-year old, a singing comic, today’s comics doing their version of a classic routine, or a major hit from many years ago that still sounds great today.

Wishing you all the best and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.