Thursday, April 21, 2016

Pushing 60

I have officially begun my 60th year on the planet. Do I feel old? Well, it varies day-to-day, dependent more on the condition of my joints, which is often dependent on the weather, than on the calendar. But there is the sense that, if I am to do anything important with my life that I haven't already done, I'd better get on with it.

The day itself was mostly unremarkable. I did indulge in some time away from house chores and my usual writing projects to try to hammer out the details of the new family website and my artist site. It's still something of a mystery, but it's starting to make some sense, as much sense as computer programming ever really makes.

There was no big celebration, as everyone but me was away from home. Karen and Thomas at work of course, and the boys not only at school, but at sports after school. Which made for some interesting logistics, as we still have only the two cars.

Karen and I went out as soon as she came home, with the goal of a nice, relaxing birthday dinner. But we had to stop and leave William some dinner, because he was participating in back-to-back tennis matches in town, and wouldn't have a chance to eat at home until after 8:00.

Meanwhile Danny, who had a track meet in Gilford, about 40 minutes' drive from his school, was using the new family cell phone for the first time, and became enamored with the texting function. Which was sweet, but a bit intrusive on our little dinner for two. Plus the fact that I need to explain that we only get a limited number of text messages on that account per month. He'll get the hang of it.

Dinner was at the Seabird, which is always a pleasant place with good food, and of course the company was top-notch. We didn't get to linger after dinner, though, because Danny needed to be picked up and taken home for homework. And about twenty minutes after that, I had to go back into town to pick up William.

Between errands, Karen was showing me a program on Netflix about building a tiny house for a couple in Massachusetts. Have I mentioned that Karen and I are planning to build a much smaller home to retire to? Programs like this give us a lot of ideas on the best uses of space. The idea of scaling down might seem like a compromise to many, but we see it as a step forward, a chance to spend our time doing art and traveling instead of looking after a big house (and our house isn't even that big).

And then Karen and I turned it, because it was still a school night, and I get up at 5:30 in the morning on school days. Exciting, huh?

But there will be a dinner prepared by my boys on Sunday, and I'm very much looking forward to that.

And the entire year that follows.

Sunday, April 10, 2016


The latest version of the website is stripped down to its essentials, that is, the daily picture and the preview for this blog. I am working behind the scenes (because you really don't want to see all the mistakes I make along the way), to bring a new version of the site online as soon as can be. It's not much, but at least the background isn't snow. That was driving me crazy.

Actually, the new version probably won't come online all at once. Google is making changes to the site that holds our galleries, as I mentioned before, and I have a lot of work ahead figuring out the best way to let you see old pictures, and pictures that didn't make the front page. And Google might not be the best solution. Sorry, Google.

The new pictures will stay, although I'm trying to come up with something that will only display a new picture if it's actually new, and not from a month or two ago. Fear not, though; those pictures will still be available to view. And, if you miss a picture, you won't have to wait a week or so until I get it into a gallery, for it will be easily accessible further down the page.

Rather than have one picture from the past, and one food picture, and one art picture, I'm just going to add them into a kind of stream (like photo streams in Flickr, kind of, or maybe a little like Pinterest), So that we can just post something new as we have it and not have to worry about archiving the older picture right away.

This is the plan, of course. It's hostage to both my time and my programming skills, and I don't have a vast surplus of either one. On the other hand, when I do get a chance to sit down and work on the site, I enjoy it, both for the satisfaction of setting up a nice hub of family communication and memories, and as an intellectual challenge.

Back to blogging about the family and not the site next time. Keep watching!

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Lightly Chilled

This is that time of year when the weather is supposed to be warming up, with more sunshine and fewer freezing nights. And so, every year starting April 1 or a little before, I shut down all the heat in the house. Normally, that works out fine.

But this year, just to mock us, we have a few days of sub-freezing weather and, so I am told, a little bit of snow coming our way. Not enough to make me bring up the heat again, but we will have to bundle up for a bit, and make sure our slippers are at the ready for the cold floors.

It's only for a few days, but it seems odd after the impressive number of warm days we had during the winter months. Not to mention that it got up to 70 just a few days ago. Oh well.

William and Daniel have started spring sports, William having chosen tennis and Daniel track and field. Daniel would have loved to do tennis, too, but it's not offered in middle school. Someday.

The logistics are interesting, because there are only two cars, and they are both many miles south for the days when both Karen and Tom are at work.  For Daniel, it has no effect except when there's a meet, and usually Tom is home before the bus comes back.

But William has had to adapt more. He has to wait at the library, then walk to the town tennis courts, and then walk to a nearby park to wait until I can pick him up about 45 minutes after practice is over. He's being good about it, but he very much appreciates the days when I can take him to practice and pick him up on time.

Lots of running around between now and the end of the school year, but that's only a few months away.

Then summer will come, and there will be an entirely new schedule to deal with, and we don't even know what that is yet. So much fun being a parent in a resort area.

William's got his classes chosen for next year, and he's hoping to get into the culinary arts program at the vocational center. It's a two-year program where the students learn not only cooking, but all of the jobs that go into making a restaurant run. We've eaten at their little part-time restaurant at the school, and it's always a delight. William's very much looking forward to it.

I'm pretty much back to normal (as much as I ever am), and so I'm plowing into catching up with all the things I let slide when I wasn't feeling so well. Writing, songwriting, housework, publishing, construction.

And the website changes. Time to take away that winter look. I think it's jinxing us.