Saturday, December 29, 2007


It's very slushy here today. It snowed for awhile, and then rained for a while longer. The result was a good deal of icy slush that had to be shoveled off the driveway. About a week into winter and I'm already done with snow. The weather will no doubt have other ideas.

I realize I haven't written since before Christmas. Karen got a bad cold and the weather got a little inconvenient and I wanted to get the holiday page put together, so I just haven't had any time until today.

Christmas, though, was quite nice overall. The kids couldn't decide what toys to play with and so went back and forth trying to play with everything. Except for Thomas, who spent most of the day playing the family's new Nintendo Wii system.

What Karen and I gave each other for Christmas this year is a new house. Not quite ready in time for the big day, but far enough along to see and walk through and imagine. It's a very different experience than building the house in California. That one we expected to have done for use pretty much, and then we just walked in and started setting up house. This one, once the professionals have given us a shell, is more a craft project on a gigantic scale. Stay tuned.

Just as the weather seemed to be the only thing I had to write about last year, forgive me if I dont' have much to say about anything other than the house for awhile. That's just the way it is. Building the new house, moving out of the old house, and selling the old house will pretty much take over our lives for at least the next could of months. And after that it will probably be preparation for our temporary move to California.

Hope I.m not boring you.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The First Day

Today was the first day of winter. Just the first day. I emphasize this because we have already had two snowstorms and one ice storm of sufficient severity to seriously hamper commuting. There have already been two days of school called on account of snow. The snow in the front yard is higher than the porch. And today was just the first day of winter.

Ironically, the ten day forecast, covering the first ten days of winter, call for milder temperatures and little snow. In fact, it is supposed to rain on Sunday, with a daytime high near 40. It's all very strange.

Weather notwithstanding, construction of the house continues pretty much unabated. The framing crew is already working on the main floor and are expecting to have the gable wall for the top half-story tomorrow (yes, they work Saturdays, especially when they couldn't work yesterday because we had ten inches or so of snow).

Today I walked through the unfinished main floor and pictured what the rooms will be like. It was very satisfying. I think we're really going to like this house.

On Sunday when no one is working on the house, I'm planning to walk through with an extra copy of the plan in hand and start thinking about my electrical plan, including where phones and data cables are going. I should be pulling wire within two weeks. Things are moving very fast!

Except for me. I'm moving rather slowly after last night, when I was out until 9:30 shoveling snow of the lot and driveway. So I'm going to bed. A busy weekend ahead including holiday preparations, house construction, and more snow removal.

Did I mention that today was just the first day of winter? Really.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Falling Behind

Those of you who actually look at the site every day may have noticed that the pictures are beginning to recycle. This is because I was quite busy on Saturday preparing for a storm, very ill on Sunday (when the new series of pictures would have started), and recovering from both the illness and the storm today. Somehow, updating the pictures didn't make my list of things to do.

I also spent a good deal of the day preparing for the beginning of the framing phase of our construction project, which begins tomorrow.

And this entry ends now, because I have to get some sleep before arising at 5:00 tomorrow morning to go to work. Good night!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Weather Outside Is Frightful

Tonight we are experiencing freezing rain. As I think I have explained on this site, perhaps a couple of years ago, feezing rain is not frozen, at least when it is falling. It is regular old liquid rain until it lands on something which has a surface temperature below freezing. Like cars and roads.

But not everything the rain lands on is freezing. At the moment, our two cars are just wet, because we drove them home less than four hours ago and they still have enough residual warmth to keep ice from forming. But as the night wears on and they cool, they will acuumulate a lovely coating of thin, hard ice. SO I have to get up early to warm up my car so the ice melts before I leave.

The roads are another story. They may be very icy. They might be nothing more than wet. I'll find out tomorrow.

Meanwhile, we are getting very close to getting the frame of our house done. Lumber is being delivered Saturday, just ahead of the snow, and the framing contractor should be starting next weel. He says he could have the basic box all closed and dry beofre Christmas.

In other news, William will be on the stage with his schoolmates on Thursday, and amazingly, Karen and I are both available at the same time.

Will wonders never cease?

Sunday, December 09, 2007

At the Village

Today was our trek to Santa's Village. And what a trek it is, over two hours' drive to Jefferson, New Hampshire, out in the middle of nowhere, which leaves us with two questions: (1) why would anyone put a theme park far away from any big city, and (2) why would anyone travel so far out of their way to visit such a place? The answers are: (1) no one seems to have any notion, and (2) because the children love it.

And love it they do. Favorite parts? Bumper cars, just like the kind they used to have on all the cool boardwalk arcades (Coney Island, Santa Cruz, Santa Monica, etc.). Cars the kids can drive themselves, a lot like Disney's Autopia, but with a better, smoother guidance system, and quaint "Tin Lizzle" style cars. And the spinning drums, which are just like the teacups at Disneyland, but with drums as befits the Christmas theme.

It's colder in Jefferson than in New Durham this time of the year, which caught us by surprise last year. But we were better prepared, as Karen noticed whem she mentioned that we only got hot chocolate twice this year, whereas last year we were guzzling it the whole day to keep warm.

The Web site has learned a couple of new tricks. The first is that the front page now displays the first paragraph of my most recent blog entry. If I can get Karen and Thomas to update their blogs, I'll add their first pragraphs as well.

The front page also now has a "Latest Picture" feature, which displays a different picture based on the day of the week. As long as I put in seven pictures once a week, the picture will be different every day. Dont worry if you miss one; it will probably show up in a gallery at some point.

The last feature I've added so far is a picture representing the current state of our new house. This feature will probably be around for awhile, since the house will be a work in prgress for a long time to come. And once it is finished, we will probably be on to some other project to take its place.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

What a Day!

The problem started yesterday when I got off work 1-1/2 hours early. A good thing, and as it turned out, a very necessary one. Because when I got on the rooad I started hearing a load clunk from my left front wheel. At first I thought I might have ice caught somewhere, but a quick look at the wheel well found it completely ice-free. I took it to a garage near work, but they were booked and unable to even look at the car. So I limped it up to Wolfeboro to leave it with my mechanic. By the time I'd gotten it up there, I'd pretty much eaten up my free 1-1/2 hours.

Karen was working last night until 7:00, so I had to walk the boys down to the local pizza parlor, sit to dinner with them, and wait for Karen. We killed a little extra time by going and renting a couple of movies, one for the boys to watch today, and another for me to watch tonight while waiting for Karen to come home at about 9:30. Good move, as it turns out.

Because it's William's turn to be sick. Oh no! We were supposed to cut our Christmas tree today, and go into the bank, and take Karen into work so that I'd have a car. So much for that. Fortunately for William, he tends to bounce back pretty fast, and he’s very grown-up about the whole sickness thing. And that movie we rented last night will come in handy for giving William some nice, quiet distraction.

It's interesting, the differences between our children. Danny whines a lot when he is sick, but never stops talking until he just can't stay awake any more. William, on the other hand, will be very quiet and reserved, and sleep a lot until the sickness goes away. Danny is very demanding, and wants everyone to do everything for hom. William will go take care of things for himself without even asking anyone else. And both boys feel better quickly.

Which is good, because tomorrow we are off to Jefferson, about two hours from here, for a cold but fun day at Santa’s Village.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Danny's Five

Danny turned five today! Unfortunately, Danny got really sick last night, keeping himself and his parents up all night. So it wasn’t exactly the best of days for Danny, but he enjoyed opening with and playing his presents, and having his exhausted parents home with him for the day.

Danny will get a couple of extra opportuities to celebrate. He’ll be having a little party with his friends at daycare tomorrow, and going to Santa’s Village on Sunday. And he’ll have his party with his friends the first weekend that Karen has off in January. It’s amazing how much mileage kids get out of a single birthday these days.

The first snow of the season showed up late Sunday and continued through Monday night, dropping about nine or ten inches in our neck of the woods. I couldn’t make it into work, and spent the morning doing battle with our snow blower, a gift from our former neighbor.Tom Thompson.

It was my first time using a snow blower, but I managed okay. Got the driveway clean in the morning so that Karen could get off to work, and again in the afternoon. And I even came up with a good idea for clearing in the dark: I had Karen buy me a little head-mounted superbright LED flashlight to make up for the fact that the snow blower has no headlight and that most of the driveway is not lit.

And it worked okay until I ran out of gas and discovered that my gas can was empty. Oh well. I got enough done so that everyone could get out on Tuesday,.and that night I got the gas and fired up the snow blower. Things had gotten a bit icy, but I did a pretty good job and the head-mounted light worked great!

The new house is well underway, with footings, a septic system, and basement walls. We might even have this things framed and dry by Christmas.

I’m changing the front page of so that I can easily show a little updated picture of the house, and a little snapshot from our daily adventures. I think I’’ve also come up with a neat little trick to allow me to display the first couple of lines from the blog on the main page as kind of a teaser, with a link to the blog itself. These changes should be showing up within a week or so.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Danny Discovers Catalogs

Danny has discovered catalogs, and the world may never be the same.

With his birthday coming up in about a week, Danny has now contracted a serious case of the gimmees, and the catalogs just add fuel to his burning desire for presents. He wants everything in those catalogs. Everything.

And with Christmas only 19 days behind Danny’s birthday, this condition isn’t going to go away soon. Sigh.

On the other hand, our big Christmas present is beginning to take shape. Right now there is a hole. Not much, you might say, but within days that hole will have concrete footing, frost walls, and basement walls standing in it. And within weeks of that, there will be a house.

Not a finished house, to be sure, but four walls, three floors, a roof, and exterior windows and doors. All wrapped in Tyvek and waiting for some elbow grease to turn it into a living space.

It’s scary. It’s very, very exciting. And it’s really happening!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Holiday Weekend

We spent Thanksgiving day at the home of Karen’s brother John and his family. Lots of fun with all of the cousins together (a rare treat), and a great meal.

Then we headed up to Niantic, Connecticut, about halfway home, where we discovered a new restaurant for breakfast, walked on the boardwalk, and found interesting seashells and rocks. Then a stop at the Mohegan Sun for video games, a little shopping, and dinner at Johnny Rockets.

Now we’re home for a weekend of overdue winter preparations and some work on getting the new house started. Now that we have the permit, we have to scramble to get the foundation in and inspected before the deep freeze. Then we can get the framing and sheeting up and the roof on and we’ll be able to work dry and reasonably warm when winter arrives.

The Pajama Game is all done, and it was amazing, playing to a sold-out house on it’s last day, Sunday the 18th. It’s tiring, but I’m really going to miss it. I understand why we only do six performances, but after working on the play for nearly three months, it’s hard not to keep it going at least a little bit longer. Besides, being on the stage is an incredible high!

Karen’s Lowes store is now officially open, having had its Grand Opening celebration during the last weekend of my play. It was very exciting, especially when, on Friday, the squirrel cage fan that was inflating the giant balloon on the top of the store caught fire, prompting an evacuation. But everything elese went fine, even without the big balloon.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Tired, But Happy

The first weekend of “The Pajama Game” has come to a close. After a solid week of nerve-racking rehearsal, we finally brought it all together. With three performances (before three terrific audiences) in the can, we get a couple of days of rest, one quick refresher (without having to make the rushed costume changes that are an integral part of this show) and another rest day before we hit the boards again.

What I love about working with The Village Players is that they take it all very seriously, and yet make it all seriously fun. I don’t think I’m going to get another chance to perform there again for a while, and I’m going to miss it.

But it’s also very tiring, especially with this family’s hectic and unpredictable schedule. And, for some reason, this show is even more exhausting than “A Funny Thing Happened On the Way To the Forum,” even though I was on stage for most of that. Perhaps it’s because I actually dance in this show, and when I’m not on the stage I’m running up the stairs to change my clothes.

Fortunately, I have tomorrow off to rest a bit before I have to go back to work.

In other news, we got our building permit, and now we’re just trying to get on the schedule for excavation and foundation. In this neck of the woods, you have to get these two tings done before the truly cold weather sets in, before the ground feezes hard and makes the whole thing more expensive, or even impossible.

Karen’s store had their Family Night tonight. I was on stage, but Karen took the two younger boys and they had a good time. The store opens tomorrow, mostly unannounced, and the Grand Opening is Thursday.

And now that the Rochester store will be open, I can stop by on my way home, say hello to my wife (a rare treat these days!) and pick up anything we need for the new house.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Catching My Breath

A rare few moments in the library to pay bills and catch up a little on blogging. Still rehearsing The Pajama Game, at the Village Players; opening Friday with only three more rehearsals to go. Yikes!

There is a new gallery up, finally, of William's birthday party. We are running around trying to get our building permit for the new house so we can get the excavation going and get the foundation poured before the ground freezes. If we can get the shell done before it gets too cold we can work on the house during the winter.

You'll have to excuse any typographical errors in blogs and gallery captions. I try to correct them as I find them, but they are all written on the run between the many other things I have to do these days. Unfortunately, I can't do it over lunch (although right now I use that time to study my lines anyway) because I can't bring my laptop computer into work for security reasons.

So mostly the captions are written at home while looking at thumbnails of the pictures, and the the whole gallery is loaded onto the laptop for uploading at the next trip to the library. The blogging process is similar, although sometimes I can write while waiting to go onstage at the theater and other spare moments. Today I'm writing directly into the Blogger screen since I'm sitting at the laptop for other online work anyway.

But now it's time to pick up the boys, so I'll post this and try to add another entry this weekend--after opening night!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Wheel Deals

It’s a crisp day, much more like what we’re used to for this time of the year, and in fact it’s supposed to freeze tonight for the first time since last spring.

I’m out at the Cresscent Lake school parking lot, where I’ve brought Danny and William to ride. It’s not exactly what we had planned. I couldn’t find the training wheels for Danny’s bike (which used to be Tom’s), so Danny is riding a Razor scooter today (which also used to be Tom’s). William, on the other hand, is refusing to ride. He says it’s because of the cold, which has never stopped him before, but I suspect it is on account of the fact that I raised his training wheels to where they are supposed to be. He’ll get over it. But not today.

Yesterday I took Thomas out driving. I got more cooperation out of him, although it feels very weird riding in the passenger seat with my son at the wheel. I’d better get used to it, though; I have to go through it twice more in the next twelve years. Yesterday he drove Karen’s car, which he likes more than my van, through rain and darkness, and he did just fine. I came through okay too.

When we arrived home, the power was out, and Danny was very upset about the darkness. We went to McDonald’s in Alton, which had power, for dinner. By the time we got back the power was back on, but everyone was exhausted.

And then came this morning, when my iCal calendar said Daylight Savings Time started. Wrong! Congress changed that in 2005, efeective 2006, and although my computer’s operating system and Apple’s time server both knew about the change, my calendar of US Holidays did not. Neither did Tom’s driving instructor, who arrived an hour late for drive time with Tom. Needless to say, after Karen left for work at about 6:30, I didn’t go back to sleep.

Maybe tonight. Yeah, sure.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


I’m in Dutch with the wife. I tried to tell her otherwise, but she’s convinced that I am--I hardly know how to say this--a competent plumber.

It’s my own fault. Over the course of the year to date I have replaced the drain and faucet in the kitchen, the valve in the downstairs shower and now, much to my detriment, I have done what I never thought I would even have attempted: I replaced a water heater.

I couldn’t help myself. I was seduced by the lure of easy savings. Lowe’s wanted $340 to install the thing, three days’ pay. And the more I thought about it, after Karen suggested it, the more I had convinced myself that I could do it.

The problem is that I could. And did. And worse still, it works. Sigh.

So remember that we are soon building a new house. I already have been stupid enough to let my wife know that I can wire a house. Now she gets the idea that I can plumb it as well.

It’s not true! Really! Sigh

Friday, October 12, 2007

Rush, Rush, Rush!

Haven’t been keeping on on this blog so much because I’m spending the time working on other online pursuits. Updating the galleries (just added four new ones), for example, something which is long overdue, and overhauling to reflect what I’m actually doing now, as opposed to what I had hopes of finding the time to do.

“Pajama Game” is coming along very nicely. The numbers look spectacular, and I am actually holding my own as a dancer. We still have a lot of work to do in a short amount of time, but we’re quite used to that at The Village Players!

Meanwhile we’re scrambling around to find contractors and settle on final details for the new house. We’ve decided not to go for the modular option. It doesn’ t save so much money, and it would force us to come up with too much cash up front. And besides, we get much more opportunity to do things our way and do things ourselves with stick building.

It’s keeping us busy, along with the jobs and the kids and, well, life. But it’s also giving us something very special to look forward to.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Getting Closer On the House

Lately we have been doing some shopping around. We have a house plan that we really like, along with some variations that should be a bit less expensive. We’re talking with subcontractors of all kinds, and also talking to modular home builders.

Modular homes are actually quite amazing. They are, if you didn’t know, stick-built houses assembled in a factory. They use the same materials as a conventional house, but they are assembled into two halves, which are then bolted together on the site. Building this way lowers the cost of the house and the amount of time required to build it.

We actually toured on of these factories over the weekend, and it was very impressive. It’s the kind of approach that made the Model T cost only $300 when it rolled off the line.

So why not go modular? There are a few restrictions on design where the two halves join (not a problem for us), and there is the matter of having to come up with the entire cost of the house (or at least the finished part) right away.

But depending on the prices we get from the modular companies, we may take this option, which means we might have a house ready to move into in about six weeks. Stay tuned.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

All Kinds Of Stuff

A week ago the boys and I made a movie. We went out on the driveway and I had them race down the hill on their Hot Wheels tricycles. I shot four races from one angle and one from another, and also got some seleted close-ups and a little stunt shot from William.

The result was posted to YouTube today. For those of you who still have dial-up (or am I the only one left) it will take a while to load, but it's not too bad. And the movie is a lot of fun.

It's part of a series I'm trying to start via YouTube and Blogger on using computer editing and a professional's approach to shooting and sound to make videos more fun to watch. My user name on YouTube is cheapmedia, and you can see my blog at (where the videos are also embedded for convenience).

Rehearsal for The Pajama Game is going along well, although I had to skip Wednesday because of a schedule conflict, and dancing practice has been slowed by a head cold I managed to get Wednesday night (just in time to have to muddle through the Grand Jury with a stuffed up head--oh joy!)

Being bad about posting because I've started up other blogs. But I'm starting to get into some kind of routine for them all. Or so I tell myself.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Dancing Fool

I find myself with a few rare moments to spare, having arrived early for tonight’s rehearsal. “Babe” is singing “I’m Not At All In Love,” while the chorus members learn their parts of the song. They’ve been running through the choreography, and I must say I’m impressed, and very glad that I don’t have to nearly as much dancing as the chorus.

I’m having trouble practicing my dancing at home. It’s not that I don’t have the time, but the only place in the house that has enough clear space is the living room, and the floor of the living room is (how can I put this?) a bit springy. So when I start to dance, all 235 pounds of me, the room shakes a bit and I feel like the TV is going to fall down. I think I need to try the back deck.

I also think I need to be up on the stage in just a few minutes for the minor part I play in the number “Racing With the Clock.”

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Count Down

“Reason notwithstanding, the Universe continues unabated” - Douglas Adams

By the time you read this, the countdown will likely be over. If you are numerologically inclined, that is, for today is 9-8-7. It must portend some sort of disaster, of course, but I can’t think what since we have already survived 8-7-6, 7-6-5, 6-5-4, 5-4-3, 4-3-2, 3-2-1, and even 2-1-0, not to mention the much dreaded 6-6-6.

I’m glad something was headed down, though, since the thermometer was not. Very hot, very humid, and the only places we have air conditioning these days are at work, in the car, and in one bedroom (whose? the two that pay the bills, naturally).

“The Pajama Game” rehearsals are in full swing, and on Wednesday night I started learning how to dance. And on Thursday morning I learned how to limp. Well, I already knew how, but I got something of a refresher course. The choreographer and my dancing partner both said I did well, and I know from experience that they are probably lying to make me feel better, the dears. But I’ll work hard not to embarass them in front of an audience. I get to try it again tomorrow.

House building is, well, house building, with all the usual delays and complications, most of them caused by our own conflicting work schedules. But there is progress being made.

I must apologive for the lack of progress on pictures. There is really no excuse; it’s not that hard anymore to create a new gallery, but it just keeps slipping through the cracks. Perhaps I will do another “catch up” gallery tomorrow. And I think it’s time for a new banner of summer scenes, since the end of summer is almost here.

Okay, maybe I’m dreaming. But maybe I’ll surprise you. Maybe.

Monday, September 03, 2007

On Vacation

Finishing up our vacation for the long weekend. We are down in Connecticut, spending time at the beach and exploring the area around East Lime.

We stopped briefly at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, where the kids stayed at the play place and parents went and had a grown-up meal at the buffet. I gambled for all of fifteen minutes--the casino was very crowded--and when we picked up the boys, Karen indulged her passion for claw machines.

Tell me, what is worse: winning two hideous large-headed Care Bears stuffed animals, or having two children and winning only one? Karen was trying to win a giant Koosh ball, but none would yield to the claw.

Stayed at a Motel 6 in Niantic the last two nights, a clean, pleasant, and easy-to-find place with a pool and easy freeway access, though the TV blew out the first morning, and they had no replacement. Thank goodness for portable DVD players. Just wish they had a wireless connection.

Tomorrow Thomas starts his senior year in high school, William the first grade. Daniel is a year from kindergarten, but is graduating to a new room in preschool. And Karen and I are back to the grind and trying to move the house project along.

Long weekends never seem all that long.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Time Out

Karen and I are actually taking a little time off. Five straight days of not going to work. Tomorrow, Karen’s birthday, is a day for the two of us. We’ll have lunch together, take in a movie, and just be a couple for most of a day.

Friday is a family outing to Maine, and then we;ll meet up with extended family over the weekend.

It’s rare treat for use, and probably the last chance we’ll have to just take some fun time over such a long stretch until next summer. So we intend to get the most out of it.

In other news, the play is off to a good start. I went in tonight thinking that I knew my songs and discovered that, well, I do! Of course, the real test is next week, when I start learning to dance. Our choreographer is one brave woman! I’ll let you know how that goes.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tom's Home!

I picked up Tom at the airport this morning. Before I left, I took the dog outside and looked over by the pond and saw a lunar eclipse in progress. I had heard, but forgotten, about it. I got Karen up to see it. By the time it had reached totality, though, the view was gone. Too much mist on the pond and then too much sunlight. But it was a nice surprise.

Tom's flight left about an hour late, and was a red-eye to begin with, so Thomas is, well, fast asleep. At least he was when I left the house early this afternoon.

He had a good time in California, and had lots to tell about for someone who is bone weary. He didn't unfortunately, take much in the way of pictures (he's not his monther, that one). But I'm sure he'll have more to tell when he's gotten some rest.

Hoping for some of the same myself tonight. Been going and going and not getting enough sleep. But it's been all for good cause: theater and family.

Had an excavation contractor looking over our home site today, and we'll apply for permits within the next week, I expect, once we have the paperwok in order.

Meanwhile, work, theater, and then some family fun for the long weekend. Tom's staying home. I think he's had enough of long drives to last him for awhile.

Monday, August 27, 2007

One Things and Another

Brooks Bunch

Considering all that's happened in the past few days, this will be a rather short entry, because I have to get up early in the morning to fetch Thomas from the airport. That's right, he's coming home.

Friday night was the opening of "Refund." I wouldn't say it went perfectly, but the audience laughed and I got a lot of compliments afterwards. Saturday's show was also well-received, although it started a bit late. The power went out in Wolfeboro at around quarter after 7. We agreed to call off the show if it didn't come back on by 8:30. Actors finished up their makeup in the dark, and we kidded around about lighting the show with flashlights (although we couldn't legally or morally put the audience at risk for the sake of one show). And the lights came on at 8:10, to cheers from the audience.

Blasting right from one show into the other, the first rehearsal for "The Pajama Game" was last night. I'm playing the part of Vernon Hines, the executive at the Sleep Tite Pajama Factory who's twin obsessions are time and the superintendent's secretary, Gladys.

And now I have to go to bed.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Blogging From the Park

You never know these days where you'll find a connection. I'm connected from a park in Wolfeboro. The wireless router is quite some distance away; I think the atmospheric conditions must be just right today.

Today is day 2 of what we lovingly refer to in the theater as Hell Week. Refund opens Friday, and we have only two more rehearsals. This is not going to be a week for sleep.

Especially since the day following the last performance is the beginning of rehearsals for "The Pajama Game." Yes, I got a part. Yes, I got the part I wanted. Yes, I'm excited!

And exhausted. But I'll get over that a lot faster than I'll get over the excitement of being in the show.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

A Calmer Day

Well, Tom made it safety to California, found his way to his shuttle, and has been spending fun time with Marylou and family in Burbank. Tomorrow he'll be headed up to Central California for more visiting.

Karen has the day off tomorrow, and we're just going to spend it at home. Well, most of it. I have a run of seven straight evenings with appointments, all in Wolfeboro, starting tomorrow night.

But unlike my work, all of the appointments should be stimulating and enjoyable.

Weather is starting to turn, though I'm sure we'll have plenty of hot days before fall really sets in. Too cold for swimming today, though. William and Danny will be happy to get into the water tomorrow if the wind isn't too stiff.

I tried to encourage Thomas to start his blog while he is on vacation. I've already set it up for him. So any of you who are in touch with him, why don't you give him a little nudge.

If he does make an entry, I will update the front page with a link so you all can read it.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Thomas is winging his way toward California as I write this.

It's been a long, busy day. I had Grand Jury service, which I begged off the afternoon session of to take Tom to Boston. But Tom walked around Dover while I served three hours in the morning. Then I picked him up, had lunch in Newington (on the way to Boston), hung around at the mall with Tom for an hour or so, and then headed down to the airport.

Getting Thomas checked in was so smooth that we had some time to stop at the Dunkin Donuts in the terminal, where Thomas got his second bad iced tea of the day (the first was at the DD in Dover) and we had to stand because the two remaining tables lacked chairs. Logan airport is so charming.

Tom had to make his way through security on his own this time, since I, not being a ticketed passenger, could not go to the gate area. He called me as I was getting ready to leave the parking lot to let me know that everything was fine. According to United's web site, his flight left on time.

It's raining and thundering here now, but Tom is well out of it, on his way to the sunny Golden State. It's going to be a bit strange having him gone for a while, but with him finishing high school in the coming year, I'd better get used to it.

Side notes: Refund opens a week from tomorrow. Panic time! Still lots of lines the actors are tripping over. And I'm auditioning for "The Pajama Game" on Sunday. I'll let you know if I get the part I really, really want.

I'm also joining sort of a panel discussion to help the Wolfeboro selectmen create a monthly television show on town issues.


Saturday, August 04, 2007

Street Fair Day

Today was day two of the annual Huggins Hospital Street Fair. People donate their unwanted items which are sold, some flea-market style, some at auction.

I took the two young boys to poke around. We didn' buy much, but we did find some neat things. William found a Veiwmaster toys that doubles as a binocular microscope. And it really is binocular; I was amazed. Danny found several Matchbox cars, a perpetual favorite for him. Each boy bought two books, and I found some books that I hope will help me with the new house.

I also found a computer keyboard. Now, of course, I have all the keyborads I need for all of the computers we have, but this is one of those ergonomically-correct keyboards that are suppose the be better for your wrists.

I'm typing on it now. It takes some getting used to, especially if, like me, you have developed some bad typing habits, such as pressing the "B" key with your right index finger. Sorry, it's not there! The keyboard is split into two halves, angled away from each other and sloped so the your hands rest more naturally. But it's best suited to good typists. Perhaps it will help me break thos bad habits.

After a short trip to the Street Fair, we picked up some lunches at the local market and headed for the newest park, The Nick. There was a stiff breeze there, which made eating a challenge, though it certainly felt wonderful on this hot, sticky day,

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Trickle, Trickle, Splash, Splash

This has been a awfully rainy summer, and I'm frankly sick of it. I wouldn't mind if it was several sunny days punctuated by one big storm from time to time, but it just seems to go on and on. Nothing spectacular, but just enough to kind of spoil the days.

Today I did my monthly Grand Jury duty, and it didn't rain at all, until it was time to leave, and then it rained steadily. Figures.

I have discovered that directing community theater is a wonder, but also frustrating, experience. Wonderful because everone is there for the love of theater and works very hard. Frustrating because the actors, not getting paid to do this, have to attend to their real lives, and it's hard to get everyone together in the same theater on the same night. I think we've only had two rehearsals so far with the whole cast. I might be wrong about that. It may have been only one.

But with all of that, I think "Refund," and the other shows we're presenting that night, will be very entertaining.

And just before our shows open, the auditions for "Pajama Game" will be held. I'll be there, and I hope to be up on stage rehearsing in September. I love directing, but I think I'll be happy to be responsible for just one character for a little while.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Graduation Gala

Early Saturday morning we left for New Jersey. Katherine, my oldest niece, graduated from high school in June and will be attending college in the fall. This was the family and friends party, with lots of family and friends. The highlight of the day for the younger set, ranging in age from four to nineteen, was the swimming pool, in which nearly everyone had an extended water fight.

Will was right in the thick of the water fight, though Daniel managed to avoid that and instead had fun getting carried around by Katherine and her friend Marla. Later he got confident enough the paddle around in a swing ring. The only time he really got upset was when he couldn't go back in the water.

We saw a doe grazing very nearby, and I managed to get fairly close before she decided to saunter away. I took a few pictures, but oh! to have a long lens!

At dusk, the fireflies came out in force, and the children had a lot of fun catching them and watching them glow. in the grass.

We left for home the next day. A mostly uneventful trip, expect that we saw the aftermath of a most unusual accident. On highway 87 North in New York, there is a service area, which is a two-story building housing restrooms, shops, and a couple of fast food joints. It is up on a cliff. And through the fence, hanging over this cliff, was a charter bus. Yikes!

Oh, and when we got pretty close to home, William made a remarkable discovery: we picked up a hitchhiker. Crawling around on his window, and later Karen's, was a single firefly.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Long Day

Today I had the sad duty of taking my Mom to the airport. Her visit with us seemed much too short, and I can't believe it's over.

I drove her to Boston's Logan airport, about two hours away, for a 6:45 am flight. I left her at the security checkpoint at about 5:30, leaving me enough time to grab breakfast before getting to work in Portsmouth at 7:00. I worked until 3:30, stopped at storage for folding chairs (for watching fireworks), picked up the boys, and am currently parked outside the library to use their wireless connection to post this blog.

Tonight I will be rehearsing, and then I will collapse into my bed. Tomorrow I plan to spend a lot of my time sitting in the swing watching Will and Danny playing in the pond.

Requiem For a Lobster

On Saturday we went with my Mom to one of our favorite haunts, the Lobster Trap in North Conway. I ordered the easy-to-eat lobster pie, Mom ordered a tail, and Karen ordered a whole lobster. The meals arrived after the boys had spent a considerable amount of time looking at the live lobsters in the tank in the lobby.

And when Karen's whole lobster arrived, all Danny could keep saying was, "poor lobster." Excuse me, ma'am, would a like a little guilt with your lobster?

To make matters worse, Danny starting launching into one of his fanciful tales about North Conway lobsters, and how you can't eat them becuase they are babies, and because they can swim underwater.

I think next time Karen is going to have the lobster pie.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Of Blogs and Widgets

I'm trying something new. Google has come up with a widget, a little program that runs on the Mac as part of the Dashboard, to allow direct entry to my Blogger account.

Adn so here I am, just typing text into a little window and clicking Publish. Without navigating the Blogger menus. No muss, no fuss.

And it works! At least, if you are reading this it does.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Reluctant Handyman

I finally finished the plumbing project I started at the end of May. I had to solder the bit of practical copper sculpture I created into the actual plumbing. After some wrangling to shield the plastic shower stall from the heat of the torch, finally settling on a short shovel as my heat shield, I soldered the valve into place and assembled the flange that holds the valve in place on the stall.

Then I crossed my fingers and turned the water on. And nothing happened. Which didn't make sense to me, because that was what was supposed to happen. Nothing continued to happen until I turned the shaft of the valve and water sprayed out of the shower head. Curiouser and curiouser. And to this day my very first soldered plumbing project has failed to leak. Who would have thought?

The next big project is laying a new floor in the sitting room and putting the wainscoting back on the wall in preparation for the sale of this house. I've becoming way too good at this. It's scary.

The sounds of construction are emanating from the property next door, some exploratory excavation and the moving of stumps and logs so they can be hauled away. The plan is nearly locked, and then we can start getting estimates for site prep, and the construction of the basic shell. We're planning to do a lot of the finish and all the electrical ourselves. It will make for a busy year!

Meanwhile, I am not without creative outlet. I'm still directing "Refund" and I got up and sang at the annual Village Players talent show.

That, at least, is something I actually know how to do.

Thursday, May 31, 2007


During the past weekend I played at being a plumber. The mixing valve on the downstairs shower started leaking into the wall. Karen opened up the wall (kind of frightening how good she is at destruction) and I figured out how to fix it. Unfortunately, it involves me soldering pipes, which I had never done. Oh, goody, another skill.

Karen bought a new valve. Not an exact replacement (very hard to find) but something that would work and cover the old holes in the shower enclosure. I assembled all of the pieces out on the back deck so that I wouldn't have to do much soldering near the plastic shower wall.

How did it turn out? I don't know yet! I used the old riser, and when I went to remove the pipe that holds the shower head, it sheared off. So I had to remove that and buy a new one; I haven't had a chance to get back to the project since, though I will tomorrow or Saturday.

Meanwhile, another project is going on at the property next door: a septic is being installed. Not only is it the first big step in the construction of our new house, but the digging and clearing they've had to do makes the property look so much more house-friendly. And the boys are very excited to see a backhoe right out their window!

My other two projects are much more within my comfort zone. I'm directing a short play at the Village Players, which is now in rehearsal and slated to open August 24th (and close August 25th). And I'll be getting on the stage to sing and play my guitar at the theater company's annual talent show/meeting/potluck.

But with a new house to build, the theater is probably the only place I'll be in my comfort zone for the rest of the summer.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Catching Up, Sort Of

It's been much too long since I added to this blog, though not for lack of things to write about. In fact, things have been very busy around the Brooks household recently, in part because we are finally pulling out of the long winter, waking from the lethargy that so often accompanies the cold.

Of course, there is spring cleaning, which for us is not so much about deep scrubbing as about purging and reorganizing all that just got shoved away since last summer. The tool shed was a high priority, because we are going ahead with building our house. And we're selling the current digs, too big, too expensive, too drafty, and over-taxed. We'll miss the beach, but we still get the pond. We expect to be in our new house by the end of the summer. Wow.

This past weekend, Thomas attended the Junior/Senior Prom. Who'd have thought? He got a suit for the occasion, and he looked wonderful. Pictures to come. He even danced!

Oh, yeah. I turned 50 since the last entry. I guess I'll have to put up pictures of that, too.

I'm also diving right into theatrical directing. I picked a play, Percival Lowell's Refund, and casting begins next Tuesday. The play is one of three one-act plays The Village Players will be presenting on August 24th and 25th, all by new directors.

So, a full summer, but a very exciting one. And one I will try harder to report. Wish me luck.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Liar, Liar

The weather in this place has been lying viciously. This morning the sun came out, melting the wet, heavy snow from Thursday night and yesterday morning, leaving open water on the pond and clearing the more steeply-pitched roof sections. The driveway was even dry.

But tomorrow we are expecting two to four inches of soggy snow, followed on Monday morning by heavy rain. Sounds like a formula for an exciting commute.

Karen, I'm happy to day, will be able to avoid the worst of it since she has Monday off. It remains to be seen if William and Tom will have the day off school; I certainly wouldn't want to drive a bus in these conditions.

Tonight Thomas and I went to see the Village Players production of House Guest. It was something of a departure for the theater group, which does a lot of comedy. But they pulled it off in grand style. Quite a few of the VP members asked me when I am going to get back on the stage. The answer? Not until the fall. I'm set to direct two plays before then, and there's only one male role in the summer production, for which I am (for the time being at any rate) a bit young.

Meanwhile, there is another project that will be using up a lot of my time. We're going ahead with the new house, after all, and, yes, putting the current one on the market. Stay tuned for details, as the weather, eventually, cooperates.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Busy Spring

This is going to be a busy spring. Now that the weather has started to turn (there are still cold days coming up, and even another snow storm, but nothing like we had last month), we have a lot of project to do around the house: a new storm door, repairs to the downstairs shower plumbing (which sprung a leak inside the wall), a new faucet in the kitchen, new walls and floor in the sitting room, and lots of painting.

Work will go on (and on and on) as usual, and now we've added Karen's job at Lowe's; she enjoys the work, but the hours are unpredictable.

It won't all be work. We'll be finding the time to visit, to swim and kayak, to play games and go to some of our special summer places, like Bobby Sue's Ice Cream in Freedom (best homemade ice cream in the state) and the steam train in North Conway.

And I'm getting active in the theater again after taking a few months off. Well, actually only a couple since I was on stage for one night in January. This time I'll be in the seats, directing one of three one-act plays as part of our directing workshops. That will be just the beginning of what I hope will be a very active season at the Village Players.

Check back here for updates; there will be a lot to report from the Brooks Bunch in the months to come. After all, the snow is just beginning to thaw.

We're ready to come out of hiding.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Of Pancakes and Concord Grapes

This morning and yesterday, I made pancakes for breakfast, partly because I haven't made them in a long time, but mostly because Karen made Concord grape syrup on Friday night.

Karen's recipe for grape syrup is simple, though at the same time hard to follow. It starts like this: take a long walk in mid-Autumn along the Back Bay of Lake Winnipesaukee until you see a vine of Concord grapes growing wild. Pick as many as you can find and freeze them. About six months later, find them in the freezer and decide it's time you did something with them. You see what I mean.

But like so many of the culinary pursuits that Karen decides to take on at a whim, this one turned out too delicious to describe. I don't know why you can't buy grape syrup in the stores, but the fact that you can't just makes me feel that much luckier to have Karen's imagination on my side.

She also found a bag of cheap apples she had bought from the local store, owned by a local orchard. We had forgotten about them, and they were a bit beyond pleasant eating. No matter! While the grapes were boiling down, Karen whipped up some homemade applesauce. Sometime I think her talents are wasted on art, but then I remember how much work and how little pay is involved in food as a profession. I think she should stick with interior design.

Today is the first day of spring. Well, okay, not officially, but it feels like it because the sun its out and the snow is melting. Soon everything will be a nice, muddy mess. But no matter. The change from bitter cold to just a little chilly is invigorating, which is a good thing because otherwise the changeover to Daylight Savings Time would be just about killing me. I know it's playing havoc with Will and Danny.

Soon Tom will be 17 (yikes!), and school will be out, and before you know it I'll be complaining about the oppressive heat.

Never satisfied.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Chalk One Up for Phil

It seems strange to be predicting an early spring when we are on the eve of a major snowstorm. But you have to realize that snow is just a normal part of spring in this part of the country. What makes it more spring-like, with three weeks to go until the official start of spring, is the temperature. Although some cold days are predicted, we're having many more days with above-freezing daytime highs, and many fewer nights in the teens.

Which means that winter will soon give way, and before we know it summer will come. When I will be writing less about the weather.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

This Week: The Story So Far

On Monday Danny had his adenoids removed. True to form, he bounced back from the surgery and was up and about the same day, with the only sign that he had been through anything his willingness to go to sleep at bedtime. Karen took that day off and I had to hear all about it from messages at work.

On Tuesday, Danny had to stay home. Rather than have Karen miss a day, I worked a half day so that she could go to work, from 2:00 to closing, getting home around midnight. Yeesh! Wouldn't you know, on the way home the front blower motor for the heater stopped working. So the only thing adding heat to the car was the rear blower. Not very effective on a frigid day. But we got everyone home where it's . . . well, drafty, actually, but everyone's bedrooms are nice and cozy.

On Wednesday, everyone stayed home. We don't even know how much snow fell, because the snow was so cold and dry, and the winds so fierce, that the landscape is nothing but drifts and pockets of fine powdery snow. But the 16-inch log standing upright in my front yard is almost completely buried.

Today I was supposed to go to court to sit on the Grand Jury, but without heat and with snow still blowing across the road, it really wasn't safe to drive all the way down to Dover. So I begged off in order to get my car fixed, and as a side benefit to work on my snow plow, which has a broken hydraulic hose. The hose is still not fixed, but I disconnected it so that fluid wouldn't be leaking, topped off the fluid, and managed to get the lifting ram working so that I could do some plowing, if inelegantly with a plow that always slants toward the driver's side.

Once I get the hose fixed, I'll groom the driveway and make up for the mess I made of it. But at least we can get out now.

Oh, and Karen and I both got haircuts today. Photos of Karen's new look will follow soon.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Icy Days and Frigid Nights

The day after Ground Hog's day, winter delivered our first real snow storm, leaving six inches of fresh powder on the ground here.

When I moved to New Hampshire, many people predicted that I would have a lot of trouble with the winters here. For the most part, I have not. But this winter, though mild, has just been a royal pain. Last weekend it was frozen pipes. Its happened before, but this time one of the was the kitchen drain. Ice clogs in drains are not easy to find, and now that Karen is working full time (and unpredictable hours), having to spend time belly-crawling under the house with a hair dryer instead of being with my wife is just not fun.

And then there is the snow. This year I am plowing on my own, since I have a plow (though it's not why I bought the truck). Unfortunately, as I was finishing up yesterday, I noticed that the plow was not responding very well, and then saw patches of green on the snow. Hydraulic fluid. Busted hose. Not terribly expensive to fix, but who has the time?

Especially when, in order to keep the house tolerable (and the pipes clear) in the frigid weather of last weekend (and the next four days), I've had to go down the hill and gather wood, which is quite an adventure in deep snow, especially when the wood has become frozen to the ground. I'm glad I happen to have a sledge hammer; on good hit breaks it free.

Not always so with splitting the wood. Most of the wood I have left to harvest is at least seven inches in diameter, and some of it is nearly 14 inches across. Even in this bitter cold, the big ones don't usually give way (for me, at least) in a single hit.

It's not all bad, though. Karen and William and I cleared off a space on the frozen pond with shovels and created a small ice rink. William and Danny skated for a while. William missed out on lessons this year (just bad timing), but he did very well remembering from last year. Danny didn't really get up on his skates last year, but he did much better on his own; he will be ready for lessons next year, I'm certain.

Thomas hasn't tried the mini-rink--it's a bit small for him--but he has been taking lessons again. It's such a pleasure to watch him; even when he hasn't set foot on the ice for more than half a year, he's just completely at ease on the ice.

Meanwhile, it's time for me to start hurrying children (including the teen) off to bed so that I can follow suit. I have to get up at five to get to work, and I'm all worn out. Good night.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Weather Again

This morning I plowed our driveway to push aside three or four inches of new, unexpected snow.

I don't mind plowing, although my plow's hydraulics still need some work. But the work is kind of interesting, and actually more of an intellectual challenge than my day job. But working in the snow isn't quite so much fun when the temperature never gets above 20 and the wind gusts around 50 mph.

The boys didn't really get a chance to play outside today because of the wind chill and the extremely dry air, and even ended up watching a DVD in the car while I was at storage, combining two units into one to save money now that we are moving back into the house. That was also not a lot of fun, what with my freezing fingers (even through insulated gloves) and the fine snow blowing into the storage unit and the car.

But we are managing to stay warm inside tonight. Tomorrow will be similar, although we will be going out late in the day (for indoor activities, thank you very much). And we are not expecting any measurable snow.

Oh, wait, we weren't expecting any last night either. Hmm. I think I'd better make sure the truck with the plow is first out.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Okay, Now It's COLD

It was so cold today that, through over two hours of driving, the heat from my engine was not enough to melt the layer of icy snow off my hood.

On the way to work, I saw an old used car lot, which has been out of business for many months, with a single car in the middle of a huge sheet of smooth ice.

When the sun came up, the grass outside our window, which is still green, sparkled with blobs of ice, as if someone had covered it with clear glass beads.

Wish I was allowed to take a camera to work!

Tonight's performance went well, and we all had a lot of fun. But it's tiring and I have jury service tomorrow, so I need to get off to bed.

At least I get to sleep in for a bit, though.

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Arrival

Well, winter has finally arrived in New Hampshire. Not a lot of snow, but cold and icy and about what we'd expect at this time of year. The middle of the week is actually going to be colder than normal.

Speaking of the middle of the week, I'll be on stage at the Village Players Theater on Wednesday, playing the role of Ambrose J. Weems in a reading of an episode from Raymond Knight's Radio KUKU. We've added a few bits of business to make it a bit more interesting visually. Just a little bit of something to entertain the Chamber of Commerce when they rent the theater for a meeting.

I actually took the truck up to the top of the road and plowed today. Not a perfect job, because I still haven't figured out how to hook up the plow's hydraulics yet, and so the blade tends to have a mind of its own as far as angle is concerned. But it did clear off the driveway enough for us to get by, and we're not expecting any more snow for a few days.

Meanwhile, we've laid in some wood and a tank full of propane. And some warm blankets. We're hoping that the late winter means a short winter. Instead of just, well, a late winter.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Just an Update

Various members of the family have been a bit under the weather. Although I have to admit that the weather they are under is much milder than is normal for this time of year. Today started rainy, ended sunny, and had me shedding my coat on the way out to the car as I left work.

Karen is among the ill, and the timing is not so good; her store is undergoing mass receiving this week and half of next. It sound like some terrible disease (or something you might do in the state to our immediate south), but it's actually the process of taking a completely empty store and stocking it for the grand opening later this month. Yesterday Karen was actually putting up cabinets (since she's in the kitchen department). I'm not sure what she was doing today.

You'll be able to catch a glimpse of Karen's new store during its construction phase in the next gallery I'm assembling. And I'm going to put together some of the stills from my theatrical exploits from 2006. Those should both be up before the weekend is over.

Karen and Thomas now have blogs, but they don't show up on the menu yet because they have no entries. I don't know if Karen will get the chance at all until the 18th, but I'll twist Tom's arm and get him to start his blogging within the next day or two.

Meanwhile, I'm off to bed in just a few minutes here. Work, alas, still calls at an early hour.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

What Month Is This?

Today would be a typical day for New Hampshire--if the date were in April. When I took Thomas to work this morning at 7:00, the temperature outside was 56 degrees, and it was raining. By the afternoon, WIll and Danny were playing in the sun wearing only light jackets, and then only because it was windy. The sun was shining, and the temperature had climbed to 65 degrees.

As I'm writing this, we just had a quick downpour roll through. It's the kind of weather pattern we see here in the summer!

On my home page, in addition to the weather in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, I also check the weather in Burbank and Oakhurst, California; Roseburg, Oregon; Stewartsville, New Jersey; and Kailua, Hawaii. RIght now the only place with a higher temperature than ours is Kailua at 77 degrees.

We have had snow only twice this season so far, both times less than three inches, and both times followed quickly by warm weather and rain that removed the snow.

I'm not complaining; my heating bill and my commute are only two of the many aspects of daily life benefitting from the mild weather. But it feels very strange, and makes us all wonder what might be coming our way in the months ahead. Can anyone say Colorado and Kansas?

With warm regards . . . .

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Duck, Here Comes Another Year!

I have a rare extra day off from work, which I owe to Gerald Ford, who is being honored in death by the closure of federal facilities, including the National Passport Center.

But I have to admit that I have not been spending much time today thinking about the late President; the beginning of the year always seems to bring a lot of extra little jobs with it. Today they include mounting the plow on the pickup truck (finally), and trying to replace to bathroom heater that I installed nine years ago. That's right, nine years. I can't believe it either.

The heater is a Nutone that mounts on the ceiling. A big coil around the perimeter glows bright orange while a fan circulates the heat throughout the bathroom. At least it used to, but it stopped working several weeks ago. Which is something of a problem because, as I have recently found out, Nutone doesn't make this type of heater anymore. Oh, they make heaters with fans, but they all mount in the ceiling instead of on it. Which means that I have to pull the wiring out the the existing box, cut a hole in the ceiling, get up into the attic and wire a new, recessed heater. In my copious free time.

This is going to be an interesting and unpredictable year. Karen will be in her brand-new Lowe's store in Concord by the end of the month. Thomas turns 17 and will be getting his driver's license. I will be back on the Village Players stage a couple of time, and trying to come up with some kind of career move to get me out of NPC, which isn't a horrible job--most of the time--but it is a textbook dead-end.

Karen and Tom should be adding their voice to the site soon; I have set up a blog for Karen, and will be setting one up for Tom sometime today. So if their blogs are devoid of entries, email them. Not me.

And aside from that, I don't know. We seem to be destined to hang onto our house for while, so we'll stay put and make the best of it. But the year will unfold as it does, and as it does I hope you will follow it on