On a Late 2019 Return

Hello everyone. I had a feeling I would be going too long. Here’s some background music for you.

 

In the spirit of Waldo, you may have wondered, “Where’s Frank?” As you know, we love to travel. A planned trip this past July was not only cancelled, the cancellation happened after purchasing out airfares. Good news is that when you book on Southwest Airlines, the money spent on a cancelled flight is returned as a credit with a use-by deadline (about 6 months). Then a great deal came along for a 11-night cruise in the Caribbean – so with the airfare credit, it was a deal not to be passed.

Here’s my quick note on each stop.

  • St. Thomas – Store after store of jewelry
  • St. Croix – the poorest of the islands
  • Antigua – 365 different beaches
  • Barbados – Could be fun but much closed on Sundays
  • St. Lucia – Most physical beauty
  • St. Maarten – Fun

Celebrity Equinox is a large ship of 2800+ passengers – but not a mega-ship of 6,000+ passengers. As my normal custom, I didn’t gain weight on this trip. I enjoyed the on-board entertainment of shows and music. Even had a few comp surprises: bottle of wine, champagne, two trays of chocolate covered strawberries, a bowl of fruit, and a wonderful meal in a specialty restaurant. Most were because of an issue, but the wine and one tray of strawberries were from a Guest Relations Rep that I spontaneously got dancing.

A plaque with a saying was above each urinal (on the ship). I enjoyed this one the most: An honest politician is one who, when bought, stays bought. (Simon Cameron, 1799-1889)

In my opinion, it’s always good to have some unplugged time. Aside from having phone access in 2 ports, I was without internet access. The television in the cabin had news channels, so I stayed somewhat informed.

A note to ponder about Congress – The minority complains about the actions/behaviors of the majority, even though the majority is acting/behaving as the minority did when they were the majority.

I’ve made considerable progress on my final series, which will be a retrospective on various topics. However, I still don’t know the dates.

The next concert is set with The Guess Who. Acceptable songs will be from the following artists: The Guess Who, Burton Cummings, Chad Allen, Chad Allen and the Expressions, Brave Belt, and Bachman-Turner Overdrive. (Note: I love BTO, but I hope participants focus on the others listed because those groups and people are the foundation.) Think of the list as a family tree involving The Guess Who’s before and after. Concert date and time is this Saturday 2 November 2019 at 1:00 AM (Eastern US).

Good to see you again!

On Reminiscing

Embed from Getty Images

 


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.

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

Embed from Getty Images

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 Month Without

For us, January 2017 started with change questions. What would a month be like without ballroom dance, without handbells, without volunteering, without our friends, and without our normal routine?

Jan 1: We left Cincinnati on a cool, foggy morning for a day of driving, which included a light rain that occasionally became more – but not a constant rain. We noted the slow increase in the temperature.

Jan 2: The final 4.5 hour drive, again with intermittent rains of varying strength. Dry at the time of arrival, but the view of the surf while unpacking told a different story – the dangers of a nearby tornado – so down to the lower lobby we went. The evening storms off the coast provided an extraordinary light show that was worth watching – but the next morning would be a positive omen.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Jan 3-5: Cool but comfortable days. Sometimes shorts, sometimes jeans, but always long sleeves and usually a jacket. Good enough to find our routine of breakfast, lounge, walk, lounge, lunch, lounge, walk, lounge, shower, dinner, cards/television, and sleep.

Jan 6: A stormy day that also brought falling temperatures – a good day for a movie (La La Land).

Jan 7-9: The northerly winds delivered quite the chill, yet no matter how cold, it was warmer than home. Walkable days, but shorter distances.

Jan 10-19: After the initial transition day, a string of days of sunshine and 15-20 degrees F (13-24 C) above normal. Perfect days to continue the routine. Days that would treat us to glorious sunrises, colorful sunsets, and brilliant nightly moons.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Jan 20-21: Although temperatures remained above normal, unstable air delivered an angry sea and occasional storms – even tornado watches and warning severe enough to interrupt normal television. Good days for movies (Hidden Figures and The Founder).

Jan 22-25: The normal routine returns as storms are gone, but the above normal temperatures remain. It’s been quite a streak of warmth.

Jan 26-27: Normal temperatures finally arrive – 60 F (15 C) by day – 40 (4 C) at night. The breezes are cool. Sweatshirts and jackets are the order of the day. Some people in shorts, others not.

Jan 28-29: Noticing the temperature decrease during our return drive home – a home not along the sand and waves, but one of wonderful sunsets when the sky is right. Home – the permanent one, not the temporary. A home with colder temperatures and light snow in the air. Home – the place (while we were gone) that had 1 sunny day, 6 partly sunny/party cloudy days, and only 7 precipitation-free days in January (although overall temperatures were above normal). Home – the place for ballroom dance, handbells, volunteering, friends, and normal routines – just not the routine of January 2017.

That was our January in Orange Beach, Alabama. A time when we had a different routine – one of first-time snowbirds. A time when I drafted over 20 posts the old-fashioned way – on paper – so I now face the daunting task of getting them ready.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

Embed from Getty Images

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.