Sunday, April 22, 2012

Happy Birthday To Me!

On Friday we began a celebration of the 55th anniversary of the day I was born. The only, very minor, disappointment of the day was that I failed to win the Mega Millions lottery which was drawn on my birthday. Tragic, I know, but I'm willing to bet that no one whose birthday falls on April 20th won that jackpot either (a safe bet since the jackpot rolled over).

On the other hand, I made out great. Friday I had dinner, alone, with my lovely wife, and then dessert at home with Karen and the boys. It was banana cream pie (much better, in my opinion, than cake) with a bowling ball and pins on it, hinting at my gift from the family: a day at the bowling alley. (I should explain to my New England friends that I refer to ten-pin; the whole candlepin thing leaves me cold.)

We each bowled two lines, and then Tom and I each bowled an additional game. I did very well for someone who gets to bowl at most twice a year (the alley is about an hour's drive away, and it's the only ten-pin alley in central New Hampshire); I averaged 152 over three games.

After bowling we headed toward another rare treat: dinner at the Tilt'n Diner, in Tilton. Tom and I used to eat there a lot when we were here in the summers, and when we were bachelors waiting for Karen and William to move from California at the end of Karen's last picture in 2001.

Before we got to Tilton, however, Karen saw Kellerhaus, a candy and ice-cream place that we've heard about many times, but never tried. So we tried. You get to make your own sundae, and boy, was that fun. We'll be going back.

So, bowling, ice cream, great diner food (Karen and I shared roast beef and Tom had a Bison burger, while the boys got baked macaroni and cheese and hot dogs)—what could top that? A night at the theater with Karen, to see the Village Players put on Noel Coward's "Hay Fever."

Turning 55 was so much fun, I wish I could do it again!

Monday, April 09, 2012


Time is rushing by so fast. I guess that's what comes of getting older (as we all are), having busy children, and having a lot on one's plate. That's my round-about way of apologizing for not keeping up on the Picasaweb galleries of our daily pictures (and missing a couple of the pictures, too). I have most of them up there, but there's a week or so of early March that didn't get to the gallery before disappearing from the daily pictures.

Don't worry, the original pictures are safely on my own hard drive (with backup); it's just the cropped and resized versions I post online that are lost, and the captions. I will try to re-create them later. They may not be the exact pictures or captions, but it should still capture some of the flavor of life at the Brooks household.

I've been working on getting healthier over the last few weeks, as have other members of the family. No one has been terribly ill, but we've all had a lingering cough at some point during the Spring, along with about half the people we know in the area. The biggest side-effects of the cough for me have been the difficulty of narrating Karen's videos (as talking makes me cough) and the loss of my singing voice. I'm happy to say that the cough is subsiding, and the singing voice is returning.

Good thing, too, because I make a goal that this year that I would learn one musical piece for each of the instruments that I own. Stupidly, I did this before actually counting the number of instruments that I own. In addition to a couple of guitars (well, four, actually), a six-string banjo, a five-string banjo, a piano, a synthesizer, and my new ukulele, I have a larger-than-I-remembered collection of flute-like instruments. It will be a challenge. Anyway, some of these pieces include singing, and it's been little hard to work them out without actually being able to sing.

Work at Measured Progress is in full swing, which is another good thing, because as boring as the work is when it's going full tilt, it's absolutely excruciating when it's slow. Thomas is attending orientation for a new job next week, which I'll write more about when he's starting working. We don't know if this is a permanent job yet or not, but it's a start.

I feel for Tom; looking for work is very frustrating right now. Not only are the jobs hard to find, but the process has become maddeningly impersonal in recent years. You don't even get to meet people face-to-face most of the time. I've even been turned down several times by a computer program. That's why, although it hasn't produced any income, I'm excited about starting the craft business with Karen. It's going to be slow to get started, but it's something we can do that doesn't rely on some nameless, faceless company.

So no big news, no breakthroughs, just slow and steady.

Hope Aesop was right.