Category Archives: Life

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.

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December 2011

December 2, 2011

My sister-in-law, J., cooked Thanksgiving dinner this year. In the days before, she asked for her mother’s recipes for pumpkin and cranberry bread, and for cheese pie, worn sheets of paper stained from years of use. She spent several days with trial runs, never quite happy with how things turned out. When it was good enough, she took the loaves and carefully wrapped them the same way her mother had, and when she opened them at dinner, at my father-in-law’s, the pumpkin bread was dark and moist and just like her mother’s. Abigail declared the cheese pie (made from cottage cheese) better than Grammy’s.

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My Last 2013 Complaints

About the end of 2013, anyway.

So, December is a bad month for me since my mom passed in 2011.  I admit it’s a weird feeling, because I still for the most part enjoy all the gatherings and the way the days get chilly — though, having some deep winter weather before fall was even over this year got old fast.  But there is just a little part of me that hates it all.  Hates it because my mom isn’t there.  But I know  she wouldn’t want me to hibernate and refuse to see people, so I go, and I host, and everyone really is wonderful.  I haven’t had any holiday spirit in the three holiday seasons since she died.  It’s a bit of a shame because I have some holiday music I like to listen to.

But then, the external hard drive I bought when I bought my MacBook Pro died and took all my Daz Studio content with it.  At some point I will be posting some renders here, just as a place to share them where people don’t have to be members to see them *cough*Renderosity*cough*.  Anyway, I go out and get a drive that holds 4 times as much, get half my content back on it, and then that one dies.  WtF?  Go and exchange that one and start over.  It just feels like I have spent a lot of time rebuilding my content library.

Our dryer died.  I can’t really complain since it lasted 17 years and was really undersized for the work we have been making do.  I had been wanting to get a new washer and dryer for a couple years, but they stubbornly kept working.  So we had a couple of days with wet and damp clothes lying around and I went out and got new ones.  They work really well, though I’m still wondering if I am making the most efficient use of the various cycles they have.

There were a couple of days spent cleaning for the goose dinner we host every year.  The dinner itself was one of the smaller ones we have ever had.  Made it easier to handle than the one that was twice as big.  We did really well, getting almost all of the prep work done the night before so we just had to put things on to heat and cook.

I had a birthday.

And New Year’s was spent with a couple of friends, some great food and drink, a fun game of Cards Against Humanity, and my yearly Happy New Year wish to the people who live across the street.

Alright, so it isn’t all complaints.