Category Archives: Life

Holiday Spirit

I hate this time of year.

I don’t hate the things I do this time of year. I don’t hate seeing family and friends. I don’t hate hosting the big family gathering and dinner between Christmas and New Year’s, though I admit the cleaning the house ahead of time is tedious. I really like seeing family and friends and feeding them and drinking with them.

My mom died early in December. Not long after Thanksgiving. This was her time of year. I like feeding people, and I got it from her. And with everything I do, every gathering I attend, every meal I host, she is no longer there.

I have no holiday spirit. I love my friends and family. I love hosting and feeding them. But I could have just as much fun doing it in May.

Happy New Year!

I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year as we get to 2016.  I know it’s really something like 4 billion, two thousand and 16, but I should stick to the current locally standard for time keeping.

Continue reading

Tough Winter

As the title says, this has been a tough winter.  Not really in the snow department until lately, but in the cold department.  Again.  Last year’s temps were no better.  The only problem with snow, until a few days ago, was that it wouldn’t leave because we stayed below freezing for a long time.  That big storm hit the other day and now we have a lot of snow left because of the cold.

I am not going to get to go to the Philadelphia Flower Show this year — first one I’m going to miss in 4 years.  I had forgotten it was happening already, and then we had a sick son and then ice one morning and snow another.  It was not conducive to getting out of the house this week, not even to the supermarket.

Spring cannot get here fast enough.

Played a lot of the video game Destiny the past couple of months.  I like it a lot, though I am now at a point where I’m not getting any better.  The story line you play through makes very little sense.  Still, I like it.

Got a new laptop several weeks ago and finally got Daz Studio and all my content moved over.  I can get back to putting together some renders, and maybe some of them will actually be good.  I hope to get my camera out for some pictures, too.  And I keep meaning to get back to practicing guitar.  So I hope my artistic side can be exercised over the next few months.Hopefully I’ll be back before a whole month passes.

I Am So Sorry

This has been a weird beginning to 2015.  I haven’t been able to come up with any kind of post that is longer than a few sentences, and this one is no better.  At least I finally got my camera out again — first time since I made the mistake of poking my finger onto the shutter.

Pro-Tip — don’t touch the shutter in your camera with your finger.

I hope to get to posting things soon.

Kids Get It

via PZ Myers at Pharyngula:

 

What a Month

Alright, so May was a terrible month for getting anything done.  I didn’t do any renders.  I didn’t get on with my photography project.  I didn’t post here.  I camped.  I dealt with family.  And that was about it.

Now, though, I am watching the World Cup, and it’s been fantastic so far.  And I don’t just say that because the US had a great game.  Most of the games have had great play.  After the first round of Group Play, it looks like Germany – Netherlands, but it’s still early.

I hope to get the second part of my camping history up soon.

Camping Pt. 1

My family has pictures of my mother, pregnant with me, camping with her mother and step-father (I’ll refer to them as my grandparents from here on out — I only knew him as my grandfather).  They had a mobile home, nowadays seemingly more properly called a “park model”, parked at a place called “Wilson’s Lake” in New Jersey.  There was no electricity, no water of sewage, and any gas/propane had to be gotten from outside.  There was no lodge, and no one taking care of the “sites”.

Continue reading

A Busy Month

So, as I said in my last post, April is the start of camping for my family.  It sometimes takes a bit to get set up, since in the fall we take everything home so it doesn’t freeze/draw rodents/go rotten.  I haven’t done much except take trips to our campground to take all our camp chairs up, and I water-sealed a couple of wood tables we have, and I had to take up the foodstuffs we leave there, like mustard/ketchup/mayonnaise and various spices.

And we can’t forget coffee!

Add to that our vegetable garden needing to be readied and planted, now that the danger of overnight frost killing the plants is past, and it’s been a busy month.  Also, I built a new grill/smoker since our old one was starting to disintegrate away in places, especially the charcoal tray.  I have managed to smoke one piece of brisket so far and it was delicious if not as tender as I had hoped to get it.  But it was my first time and I didn’t know how the heat and wood chunks would work.  My next piece should be better.

I was finally able to get my April photos done, so I should be posting them here in a day or so.  I hope to be able to give some more time to this blog now that the camper is set up and the garden is in.  See you next time.

Spring Camping — Missing Mom

It’s spring here in southeast Pennsylvania.  I’ve been camping since before I was born (seriously — there are pictures of my mother camping while pregnant with me).  In 2010, my wife and I bought a camper (the Forest River Sierra model 391QB) which is really an apartment on wheels.  And we parked it at Colonial Woods Camping Resort.  The place I’ve been camping since I was 8 — holy crap is it really almost 40 years ago?

So, the campground opens this coming weekend.  I’ve driven up there (about an hour’s drive from home) to take our camp chairs (for outside) and the sheets and blankets.  It was a cold and snowy winter, so I was happy there were no leaks or signs of mice in our camper.  Our camper seems to be in perfect shape.  The microwave oven didn’t even need to have the time reset — the electricity didn’t go out all winter up there!  A good sign since I have had to reset the time from one week to another during the camping season.

Yeah, sorry, that is all background.

Tuesday was my first trip up.  I was taking our camp chairs and some wood for when I make our first campfire.  But camping — well, my mom spent many years as the manager of Colonial Woods.  She was there almost year round.  She set up the store in the lodge, she scheduled the workers, she handled the customers who wanted to come camping.  And she did this from the time I was 10.

My mom was killed by cancer in 2011.  The year after my wife and I and my kids got our own RV instead of sharing my mom’s.

The two worst times of the year for me are spring — opening of camping — and December 2 — the day she died.  Those are the days/times she is foremost in my mind.  And then I ran into this playing on my iPod set to shuffle my Heavy Metal tracks as I was driving up on Tuesday:

“And she said – don’t cry for me, because I’ll be

Riding the wind forever free
High in the wind forever free
I’ll ride the wind forever free
High in the wind forever free”

(Of all bands — W.A.S.P. – Forever Free.  Really — the guys who wrote “Animal (Fuck Like A Beast)” put this together?  Yeah, after years of following Metal bands, they are deeper than they let on in most of their songs.)

OK, so it’s not easy to drive with tears in your eyes.

I miss my mom.  Camping was the time I got to see her every week.  And she got to see her grandchildren.  And every year, that started now, in spring.

It was horrible, my mom’s last year — technically, my mom’s last 8 months.  Pain while vacuuming became a tumor on her liver and her lung.  Cigarettes were the death of her, in the end.  If anything good could be said to come of it — my kids are well on their way to not smoking cigarettes.  And I hate, yes hate, that my children will not know their paternal grandmother outside of the barest impressions.

Why We Dislike Insurance Companies

About 8 years ago, we were forced to switch insurance companies for home and auto from Royal & Sun Alliance because they were no longer providing services in our area.  Travelers stepped in.  Somehow through all this, we also ended up with two completely different insurance agents.

Continue reading