Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Battening Down

There's a big storm coming our way, the kind that will have us digging out multiple times to make sure people can get in and out when they need to. The kind that will have us worrying when loved ones are on the road. The kind that comes along about once a year here in New Hampshire.

We may be getting lucky in some ways with this one. Erin can work at home if the weather is too rough; she guides college enrollees over the phone, and the phone system she used works on any solid Internet connection. She's not allowed to work at home all the time, but when it's necessary, she's set up to do so.

Karen is not so lucky on that front—no way to design a kitchen remotely—but the timing seems to be on her side, with the worst of the storm coming after she gets home. And the kids are on vacation anyway.

The most annoying part of a storm like this, wet and heavy with wind, is that there is a good chance that we'll lose our power Thursday night. That leaves us without a phone (which used our Internet connection) and running water. We've already filled containers for drinking water, and water for flushing toilets.

Maybe we'll get luckier still and won't need them.

Christmas was fun and fairly low-key. The kids' vacation is going well so far, though I'm looking forward to having them back in school because I get more work done when they're not in the house.

By the time they go back, it will be a new year. I'm hoping that 2017 will be better than 2016, which was kind of a rotten year all around, and in this household the only real highlights—among health problems and the loss of my Dad—have been Thomas meeting Erin and William joining his culinary arts program at Kingswood, which he is absolutely thriving in.

But we have a fresh, newly-minted year to make the best of now. And I, for one, am going to do whatever I can to keep us healthy and doing more of the good stuff.

And telling you all about it right here.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

That's a Wrap!

Well, Kiss Me Kate is all done, and I'm very, very tired. I had a lot of fun, but I didn't get a lot of sleep. But I would do it again, and I'm sure I will next year.

It's back to normal life. Well, not exactly, since the end of the theater season leads straight into the boys' holiday season, and they have most of the week off, so I don't have to get up in the wee hours to see them off.

On the other hand, I have a busy week coming up. We have snow, unexpectedly, and we have to do some "whoops" winter preparation. And Karen and I have promised to do a display of glitter houses for the library in Wolfeboro for the month of December, which means they need to be done by next Tuesday.

The Thanksgiving week will otherwise be pretty low-key. It doesn't look like we're going anywhere, and Tom and Erin will be spending the day with her parents. That works for us; we need the time and rest. If for no other reason than to build up my energy for the next play. Okay, I'm kidding.

I think.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Another Openin', Another Show

Just wrapped up the first weekend of Kiss Me Kate at the Village Players, and it was wonderful. The cast, the stage crew, the costumers, the musicians, and the directors all put together a magnificent show, full of energy and laughs. And I'm exhausted. But I'm happy.

My on-stage role as General Harrison Howell is a short one, with only three scenes and one song (though I have the privilege and singing it with the leading lady, who has an amazing voice), but the music director asked me to add my voice from backstage to four other songs, and so there's a fair bit more running around than I expected. But I enjoy the singing, so it's been worth it.

This is my first appearance on the Village Players stage since the summer of 2013, though I've had my hand in behind the scenes a few times since then. It was good to see that I could step back into acting and singing here and be so comfortable with it. Especially because the line up of shows for next year is very tempting, especially the fall musical, which is set to be The Music Man.

Of course, between the shows and rehearsals, there is real life. We had teacher conferences for Daniel and William, and they were very encouraging. William's culinary arts teacher, especially, had nothing but compliments. Fall is here, of course, and that means wrapping up outdoor projects for the season and preparing for, well, I'm not sure I want to mention what I'm preparing for, but it's surely coming.

The back deck is coming along with help from William, and we've almost completed the process of stowing the trailer for the season. The trees have almost given up all their leaves so we can start the raking. Then it's indoor projects, including fixing up the kitchen downstairs.

So, we won't be bored anytime soon.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Sleepless In New Durham

It's been a busy couple of weeks, and there's more in store. It was a perfect storm of camping, preparations for camping, and the arrival of opening night for Cole Porter's Kiss Me Kate at the Village Players. I'm playing General Harrison Howell. And the most difficult thing to find time for in the whole schedule has been sleep.

It isn't that there aren't enough hours in the day. Well, okay, it's partly that. But the real problem is that the schedule is a mess. Rehearsals and many of Karen's work days are late, but I get up early to help the kids (Danny mostly) get on the bus. I can sometimes go back to bed for awhile, but not often.

And then there's camping. I've been having a lot of fun camping, mostly because of the music, but I don't actually sleep much in the trailer. It's just a little too narrow for two people, especially when one of them is me, because I tend to sprawl and kind of hang over the edge of the bed.

I'm catching up though, which has made it possible to catch up on other things, such as this blog and the pictures on the site. Nothing else, likely, until the show is at least past its opening weekend, but it's a start.

Opening weekend is, by the way, this weekend. Yikes. I'd better get back to studying the song I just learned last night and promised to sing backup vocals for. Again, yikes.

I would only do this for the love of theater.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Technical Difficulties

I know that I am way behind on putting up pictures. Part of the reason is that we've been very busy doing things that are, for the most part, not very interesting visually. And often when something that is interesting happens, there isn't anyone with a hand free to wield a camera.

But the biggest problem is my computer. Not that it's broken or any such thing; it's just that I upgraded to a new operating system and some of the software that I use stopped working. As luck would have it, the software that stopped working (at least as far as I know, because there's lots I haven't tried recently) is the software I use to post pictures.

The program I use to upload pictures, it turns out, just needed its own update to work, and so I'm able to upload content. Editing the pictures is another matter. The program that used to make short work of that is not compatible with the new system, and may never be, since it hasn't been updated for about seven years. I'm trying out something else, but there's a bit of a learning curve. But I will muddle through.

In my last post, I beat myself up for taking so long between posts. This time I should be absolutely pummeling myself, since it's been even longer. During that time there was a trip to California for my Dad's funeral, the start of school, and, of course, more construction on the house.

Erin has moved in with us for the time being, as there was a time gap between the end of her lease and the start of her new job. Thomas and Erin will be looking for an apartment closer to where they both work, a long trek to the southeast, this spring.

We went camping, having put a new tongue extension on the trailer to replace the one that bent last year. Erin and Tom came along for one night of the two, and I got to try out my camp guitar in front of an audience. It performed well.

Speaking of camping, Danny went camping and hiking with his school group in September, had a great time, and helped out one of the seventh-graders who was having trouble with homesickness.

Both boys have been enjoying soccer, though the season is about to come to an end. The Knights haven't been winning, or even scoring to speak of, but the boys are having fun anyway.

Coming up for us, another camping trip, next-to-last for the season, in Salisbury, Massachusetts, and a play for me. I'm appearing as General Howell in the Village Players production of Kiss Me Kate.

And, of course, we are preparing for winter. We don't have any idea what's in store this year, but we'll be ready for it. If I can get the rock out of my snow thrower's impellers. Sigh.

And, just maybe, I'll write sooner so I don't have to beat myself up. Construction beats me up pretty well already. At least I was smart enough to take a non-dancing role in the musical this time.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Too Long!

I can't believe it's been about six weeks since I updated this blog. Lots to do, of course, as there always is in the summer. The boys are home and the weather, for the most part, is more conducive to construction on the house, and so I keep myself busy. But it's not as if I haven't sat down to write, so I don't want to make any excuses.

Since I last posted, lots of stuff has happened. If you've been following the site, you've seen a lot of it in pictures. The boys got out of school, of course, and the very next weekend we trekked down to New Jersey to celebrate the 100th birthday of Ann, mother-in-law of Karen's brother.

There was something of an adventure beforehand getting her gift put together, a 100-year history retrospective in pictures compiled by the five of us. I won't go into the gory details, but it was far more harrowing than I expected.

But the trip itself was a lot of fun, with a chance to visit family that we don't often get these days. And a trip to the Doris Duke estate, with lots to see and some good, invigorating exercise before getting back into the car for the long drive home.

Which then became another adventure. When we were in stop-and-go traffic in Massachusetts, the car started to overheat. There was no one around to fix it, but one shop (which was closed but still trying to serve their backlog of customers) suggested that we could make it home if we kept up on the coolant and made sure not to get stuck in traffic.

So we stopped for dinner, waited until the Sunday night rush had calmed down, and made it home without further incident. Turns out that coolant had been leaking through the head gasket, which is why we hadn't noticed any spots on the driveway. That could have been a very expensive deal, but our mechanic tried a sealant, which seems to be working fine.

In the continuing saga of the sick cat, Sukkie started a new medication. It's fairly expensive, but not horrible. The horrible thing for her is that it's one more thing we have to stick a needle in her for. The horrible thing for me is that I can only get this medication in Concord, about an hour's drive from home. Ah, New Hampshire.

Fortunately, I only have to refill the prescription about every three weeks now. And it may be that sometime soon she won't need it. We still have to keep her hydrated with subcutaneous fluids ever other day, which she really hates, but she forgives quickly and is a loving friend the rest of the time.

Thomas' girlfriend Erin stayed with us for the fourth of July. Karen, of course, didn't have the day off, but she was home in time for fireworks and a late dinner of sandwiches from the local hoagie shop. We had a good time, and Erin even managed to survive Tom's teen brothers. A trooper, for sure.

Actually, Erin went along with Tom and the boys to a video game tournament in Dover. Brave soul.

Karen and I hit the 28-year mark. Sometimes I can't believe that we've been married that long; it feels as though I just fell in love with her yesterday. Oh wait, I did fall in love with her yesterday. Today, too. On the other hand, I can't imagine having ever had much of a life without her.

Our anniversary was a low-key affair. For one thing, we had to go to Concord to get Sukkie's medicine. So, we made a day of it, having a wonderful lunch at Longhorn Steakhouse, then exploring a music store down Main Street from the pharmacy. I had wanted to try out a particular guitar, but the store was out of stock. But Karen encouraged we to play around with some of the other guitars, and I happened upon a rather nice looking guitar for about $50.

Now, I've been going camping lately, and bringing the guitar I've had since I was 15 with me. It's always made me nervous, because sitting around the fire, there are embers flying and the face of the guitar gets hot, especially when one or two of the more inebriated members of the campsite decide that the fire is not big enough.

So, I was thinking that the guitar I was looking at make make a good camp guitar. Karen agreed and it became an anniversary present (not my main anniversary present; my main present is still being married to Karen).

Karen got a gift, too, a pretty tie-dyed New Hampshire hoodie she found at Walmart. We don't have expensive tastes.

Most of the rest of the time has been spent on construction, repairs, or cleaning. William has had one soccer practice already; the coach is new and wanted to get started with them. There was supposed to be a practice this week, but it got rained out.

School is only about a month away. I'm looking forward to it, though the logistics of after-school sports are mind-boggling, because I get a lot more of my work done during the day when the kids are not here.

And so here we are. And, with luck and a little attention from me, it won't be another six weeks before I write here again.

Monday, June 13, 2016


I've heard of June gloom, but this is ridiculous. After the warmest winter on record, we are now having an unusually cold spring. Daniel is off today on his spring trip with the Vista group, hiking and camping in the White Mountains. They're going to be dealing with some cold wind up there. Fortunately, they are with an experienced team who's made sure that they are well prepared. And they'll be keeping warm from all the exercise, too.

Meanwhile at home, we're still looking after Sukkie, who's eating on her own now, with a little coaxing, but still not drinking. It could be that, with the fluids we're injecting into her, she's just not very thirsty. It's still our biggest concern, though.

Everyone else in the family is healthy. We're all getting ready for the upcoming summer, though we're not exactly sure what we have planned yet. It will certainly involve swimming, biking for the boys, nice long walks for Karen and me, and some camping, though not as much as last year because of Karen's schedule.

We're looking at buying another car, since Thomas is working full time and it's not practical for me to take Karen into work every day, but we want to be able to take the boys swimming regularly. We'll also need the car at the end of the summer for a couple of reasons: one is that Thomas may be moving out of the house then, and the other is that I'm going to try to go back into the work force.

I'm not making enough working at home to bring in the income we need, and the boys are old enough now to fend for themselves for a time after school, and to pitch in (however reluctantly) with the household chores that I do when I'm at home.

Not that I'm giving up on my writing or my songwriting. But, we have to be practical. I guess.

Meanwhile, we continue working on the house, our perpetual work in progress, with the deck nearly half finished (probably far more than half because I sort of know what I'm doing now), and some sprucing up in the basement and the upstairs bath. I'm pushing the limits of my skills, but so far it's worked out okay.

And I'm trying to take pictures too, of course, so that you can watch us as we go.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Nursing a Sick Friend

You may have already noticed from one of the recent picture captions that Sukkie has been very ill. At one point, just a bit over a week ago, we thought we were going to lose her, but with some intense care from the veterinarian and the family, she has made terrific progress. We're not sure of her long-term prognosis, because she still isn't eating and drinking on her own, but we are trying to be optimistic.

Although the hydration and force-feeding annoy Sukkie a lot, she is not suffering most of the time. She sleeps a lot, of course, but she has also been spending a lot of time cuddling with us and watching the world from her window.

Naturally, this has taken up a lot of our time and energy, but we still find time for other things. We went out bowling with Thomas' girlfriend Erin, our first chance to meet her, and everyone had a great time. The boys are wrapping up the last month of school, with Danny's spring camping trip coming up in just a couple of weeks.

And of course there is work and, now that the weather has finally gotten warmer, house projects. We keep plugging along, having fun where we can and getting work done, when we can. And keeping you up to date here.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

New Site, Phase One

Here it is, the first iteration of the new version of the site. I've wanted this for a long time, a way to display pictures after they've gone past their "daily picture" date, so that you, my viewers, can catch up on things you've missed or show someone a picture you saw the other day, but didn't get the chance to show off.

Behind the scenes, there's a couple of new tricks already in place, the first is the enlarged picture feature. Click most of the pictures under the navigation bar (doesn't quite work for the big picture at the top yet), and you will see an enlarged version, with the familiar navigation bar so you can easily get back to the main page (or anywhere else on the site). The caption is not included on this enlarged picture; that's coming soon.

Some pictures will link to outside pages. This will be for interesting current or recent events; I'll be setting up a links page for things I'd like you to be able to click on all the time. This will also give me a quick way to add a new link until I have the chance to make it permanent.

The page can hold up to (I think) 45 pictures before they "drop off" the end of the queue. Some will drop off before that: I've given myself a tool for setting an expiration date for individual items.

The display can also accommodate text, with or without links, with little bits of news that I don't have a picture for. I can also embed videos, maybe sound files, maybe even Pinterest pins and Twitter content for those who don't follow us on those sites.

A lot of this is experimental, and may not stay on the site if it doesn't work smoothly. Whatever may come and go on the site, however, there's one thing I am sure of: what you'll be able to see from the site is going to get much broader, very quickly.

I hope you'll have fun exploring. Drop me a line if something doesn't make sense, or if something is missing that you'd like to see me try to add.

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.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Some Changes Coming To Galleries

The folks at Google, who never seem to stand still, have starting making changes to the photo album site I use for our family galleries. They are essentially retiring Picasaweb, which is what I've used for about a decade to make past pictures available to you. They are replacing it with Google Photos. I'm not sure what this means yet.

I do know that everything I've posted to Picasaweb so far is already available on Google Photos, but the problem is that I'm not sure how to make it easy for you to see. The current Picture Of the Day gallery is just a click away, from the picture itself, but the other galleries are a little more complicated.

It seems also that some of my captions have gone missing, on both services. When I have a little time here and there, I will do my best to restore them. I hope I remember what the picture was. Hmm.

It may not matter that much; bigger changes are coming to the site this year. I'm aiming for a site that has some of the advantages (and, with luck, none of the disadvantages) of Pinterest, in the sense that older pictures and posts and news will migrate down the main page rather than disappear when new stuff comes along.

In order to avoid a page that takes forever to load, there will be a time limit on what appears on the front page, but some kind of button at the bottom will lead, I think, to another similar page of older news.

That's what I have in mind, anyway. Pulling it off is another matter altogether. The most important thing is to keep all of the pictures we've posted available so that you can find them in the future.

That will be a vitally important part of any design I come up with. I promise.

Sunday, March 06, 2016

A Site Neglected

I know that I've been really bad about pictures for the past week or so, and as I look out at my front yard I can see that the overall theme of the site is hopelessly out of date. But I've been a little under the weather.

Nothing too serious, and I should be in fine fettle soon, but it has made taking and posting pictures fall a little bit down the priority list, behind making sure everyone has what they need for school and work, and getting everyone fed. On that last score, William has been very helpful, whipping up some very creative and delicious meals.

And recovery has been a priority, too. But I'm nearly there, and I'll soon get to the task of bringing things up to date. Thinking of a new design, something that's easier to catch up on if you miss a few days here or there.

So, keep an eye here; fun things are coming.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Groundhog

Yeah, I know, Groundhog Day was a couple of weeks ago. If you were paying attention, you might know that, here in New Hampshire at least, the groundhog did not see his shadow. And the very next day, it rained.

Predictions of an early spring are always risky, and certainly nothing you want to count on, but after a bitter cold weekend, we're suddenly experiencing spring-like (for us) weather, with predictions for more of the same for at least the next two weeks.

It's almost enough to make you believe the myth.

Meanwhile, life at the Brooks Bunch house goes on. William did very well in his first semester of high school, with As and Bs for grades. In his second semester, two of his four classes are honors (and the other two don't offer honors: electricity and wood shop). Today he brought home his first project which was, no surprise, a birdhouse. But it's a really nicely-built birdhouse.

Daniel is enjoying being in the Vista program at the middle school, following in William's footsteps and looking forward every Friday to a hike.

Thomas has settled into to what is technically a temp job at a T-shirt printing facility in Dover, though he doesn't seem in any imminent danger of the job ending. It's tough work, on his feet all day, working ten hours a day for four days a week. But he likes having the weekends off (Karen is jealous), and the pay is better than he was getting at the grocery store.

Karen is still doing her time at Lowes, but she has some fun side projects lined up for the year to come, including doing a video on the making of those cute little houses we made for Christmas, and starting on new social media channel based on our plans for retiring to a smaller home. More on that when everything's in place.

I've released a new book called, oddly, The Earth Is Not Flat. It about an alarmingly large group of people on the Internet who insist that the world is, in fact, a flat disc. Strange bunch, and the research was actually quite disheartening. But I've sold a few copies and I'm moving on to other things.

And so it goes, and as long as it keeps going, I'll be going on about it here on the blog.

Thursday, January 21, 2016


The temperatures have gotten quite cold, and the wind has made the whole process of waiting for the bus in the morning a bit miserable. So, it's January in New Hampshire, and to be expected.

What's not to be expected is the way that the snow keeps missing us. We've only had three storms of any substance this season, dropping a total of less than 15 inches of accumulation. Good news for me and my broken snowblower, not so good for the ski resorts.

Even worse is the prediction for above-freezing weather next week, the last week of January. I don't know if all of this means a short winter or a late winter, but for now I'm enjoying the lower heating bill (made even lower by a drop in propane prices), and a break from shoveling the white stuff.

Neither of my boys is involved in any winter sports this year, so they aren't complaining about the better weather, and it's made Tom's commute, now all the way to Dover (more than 30 miles each way) a lot less harrowing.

Still, it feels odd not to have piles of snow in the front yard that are taller than I am this late in the season. Not that it hasn't happened since we moved to the Lakes Region, but it hasn't happened since we moved into this particular house.

But maybe I shouldn't say anything. I mean, I don't believe in jinxes, but....

At least I don't think I believe in jinxes.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Not Our New Look

Obviously, a big change in the website, but this is not the facelift I mentioned in my most recent post. It's just a temporary little dedication to our latest craft project, our little cardboard "putz houses." We teamed up with Karen to make these as holiday gifts, which we have mostly shipped out (with a few exceptions).

I'll probably keep this version up for awhile as I gather new portraits and experiments with new looks for the site. I know that it will include more pages like the one I put together for the putz houses. The engine that displays that page can be used for other craft project, recipes, or anything that needs a good display of step-by-step or sequential photos.

I think I'm also going to let the front page run a bit longer, still with a daily picture near the top, but with more pictures and text available without having to leave the front page.

I don't know yet exactly what all that stuff will be, or what it's going to look like. But you'll see it when it gets uploaded, and you'll have to let me know what you think.

By the way, there are a couple of things missing from this current version. The help page is gone, but I'm hoping the new site won't need one. The links page is gone just because some of my new formatting broke it and I still need to fix it. It might be obsolete, too, as I move more links to the front page.

And, as you can tell, the portraits are gone. They were outdated anyway, but new ones will come with the new look. Keep up with us. There's lots happening this year.

Friday, January 01, 2016


I think I'm going to have a lot of trouble writing checks for the next couple of months. The last year slid right by, and here, already, comes the year when William will be old enough to drive. Yikes! 2015 went out with a bit of a bang, with our first real snow snarling up traffic just a few days before the end of the year.

A fair amount of that snow is already gone, and the temperatures will be rocking back and forth between surprisingly mild and bitterly cold for the next week or so. And so it's time for us to get started on a fresh new year.

Since all five of us, through a happy set of coincidences, have the first three days of the year off, we're going to spend some time this weekend setting goals for the coming year. I've already been working on mine for a couple of days, which include releasing two (maybe three) new books, and an album with five existing and five new songs.

Karen and I are also starting a new website this year, called The Not-So-Tiny House, about the idea of building, not the big house, or the tiny house-on-wheels, but a house that's just the right size, as we are planning to do when Karen retires. We're hoping to share our ideas with a lot of people in the same situation, whether they are retirees or small families or singles, who just want enough space to live in, and not a lot of overhead or hassle.

Our website is going to get a facelift this year, as is my professional site, which I'm attempting to make look more, well, professional.

There are also a lot of projects in the house, naturally, and a few other personal goals. It's bound to be a busy year.

We hope you'll spend at least a little of it catching up with us here on this blog and our family website. Happy New Year!