Happiness is a Warm Puppy Part Two

Before we went on today’s adventure I wanted to see if what I saw when I dropped the food off the other day was indeed true. I saw a sign out in front of the church that said “Drive By Palms on Sunday.” So we drove over to the church and there really was a lady handing out palms. So I pulled up and asked for some and the woman was gracious enough to ask how many I wanted. I said three, mostly getting these for my mom. So we ended up getting four and I’ll be giving them to my mom when I see her again later in the week.

The main adventure today though was taking a trip up north to see our friends and their dog Mollie again for a hang out. So we spent a wonderful afternoon getting lunch, talking, telling stories, learning some new things, and laughing. Mollie’s now about twice the size I saw her last but still full of super energy.

All in all, a pretty good day.

Carousing at the Cat Cate

It ended up being a real “cat” kind of day. In the morning I went to a pharmacy store to get a baby card for someone who just had a baby and while I was there I noticed this really cute planter in the shape of a cat with a cactus in it so I got it. Sort of an impulse buy but I thought it was pretty cute, especially since I lost on on the ones Trader Joe’s supposedly had last summer but I could never find. We took a trip out to Tiverton, RI this afternoon to check out a cat café! We didn’t know what to expect but come to find out, the place was actually very cute.

Many of the cats were sleeping when we initially came (actually, we had beverages and I had a breakfast sandwich), but by the time we were finished, a lot of them had woken up and started playing with us. A black and white cat was still nursing her kids, which were very large by this point, but she permitted it, so there was that. They had installations along the walls that allowed the cats to move about the space and perches from which they could look into the café area if they so desired. They had a ton of toys and a very cool what appeared to be handcrafted kind of a cat tree with branches in the corner. Eventually all the cats here will be up for adoption. It was fun way to spend a part of our afternoon. Afterwards we checked out a beach in the area but didn’t stay long and then headed back.

Of course, as cute as they all were none can compete with our Carson. Here he is in a shot I took that kind of reminds me of those Playboy Playmate shots in the magazines from the early 70s!

I Knee’d To Slow Down

I don’t know if it’s the weather or just the activities I’ve been involved in this week, probably a combination of both, but both my knees have been killing me a bit. The joys and rigors of aging I suppose. Still, I don’t like it very much. So in the down time of trying to rest them, I ended up playing around with some video and plowing through my current read. I’ve also queued up a bunch of new books so I’m off to a great literary start to the year of book reading, so there’s that..

Carson twinning

End of Year Trip and Jackie The Duck!

We decided to take a little small trip this week and get by the water. LD found this cute little place by the sea so we went! The pic above is the view from out back – the property is right on the water! Gorgeous! The weather was downcast for much of the trip so no sun, but at least there really wasn’t any rain to stop us and it was rather mild the whole time we were there. I didn’t even need to wear my jacket at all, although LD did feel cold at times. Maybe I just got used to the elements being outside a lot nowadays. It’s no too far from Paine’s Creek which is an area that I love so we checked that out, along with some other nearby sights and some good eats along the way.

The highlight, however, was meeting Jackie the Duck, who also lives there! Jackie the Duck’s story is actually extremely fascinating. He was essentially saved by the owner lady as he emerged from his egg. His mother had either killed or abandoned the chicks for whatever reason, and this little boy would very certainly have died if she hadn’t taken him in and saved him. Anyway, the act of doing so imprinted her on him, and he became a member of the family as a result. He is a pet, but he is so much more! Let’s see if I can recall any of the stories the lady told us about him.

He bathes in the house, but he must wait for his feathers to dry before proceeding with his day. He follows her around the house and rides in the car with her. He’s riding shotgun in a straw-filled tub. He wears a diaper in the house since ducks can’t manage their functions, and there’s reportedly a lady in Maine who makes these duck-specific diapers, so maybe this is a thing? When they’re playing in the ocean out back in the summer, she’ll toss him in and he’ll ultimately return back to her on the shore. In fact, when he’s finished swimming, he waddles right out of the beach and into the home. When he falls asleep, his bill is a little heavy, so you can see him drop his head every now and then; we witnessed this in person today! He really was a sweetheart, he even poses for you so you can take his picture. What a character! He has no interest in hanging with other ducks, and why would he, he’s living the life a of a king, even by human standards! I hope we’ll get to hang out with him again sometime (the lady liked us and said next time we’re in the area to give her a buzz!)

A Happy Xmas Eve Eve

The best things!

Yesterday was a super busy day! We had a number of visitors, some of whom arrived unexpectedly but were completely welcome and worthwhile. We are really fortunate to have such wonderful people in our lives!

First it was LD’s old landlady who stayed a small bit of time and then another little elf came over and gave us the sweetest gifts! So lovely! Carson definitely made out the best out of all of us this year however, I guess you could say he was very very good this year!

Then we had to bolt over to Providence Rhode Island to pick up some certain treats for the evening’s festivities when another group of out friends were coming over to hang. That was also fun, and we tried to make some special appetizers and such. I don’t feel that the holiday caprese salad that we tried to make came out perfectly, but I came around and now like it. Not bad for a first time try. We we also a little pressed for time trying to squeeze everything in, so that was probably a bit of a factor as well, but it’s all good.

Today I watched LD swim for a bit at the pool which was fun and the tonight we’re going to keep it lowkey, going to have a nice dinner from an Italian place that we like and have a nice quiet evening. That’s the plan!

Merry Christmas everyone! May you have the spirit of Christmas which is Peace, the gladness of Christmas which is Hope, and the heart of Christmas which is Love!

Oh, I’ve been working on my top ten list for the year on and off over the last few days and I’m pleased to say that it’s ready and I’ll post it up sometime next week. Lots of good stuff this year.

Donkeys, Trolleys, Good Food, and Happy Times at Kennebunkport Prelude

Time for an update! The last weekend we went up the Kennebunkport Maine’s Prelude festivities. We arrived at our Airbnb on Friday night, a place that we stayed a couple of years ago for Prelude. Yes, in Arundel again, the place with the sulfur water! But, for whatever reason, it didn’t seem half as bad this time, plus the place is great otherwise. They even have a microwave now. It is a bit on the minimalist side but it suited our purposes just fine. The bed is very comfy if a bit low to the ground. Very modern type of place/look. Anyways, we didn’t attend the actual tree lighting in the center because that’s bat-shit crazy town, but we met up with our friend “E” who grew up there for a nice evening dinner at a place called Ultramar. I ended up getting this seafood bouillabaisse which was very good. I’d have to say that all the restaurants in the area are pretty top notch. Hung there for a few hours having a good time. Then we went back to our friend’s parents’ place where we played with the dogs, Pippa and Boomer. LD loves Boomer – he’s a very large dog, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever. When we got back to our place to crash I decided to be a little Zen, as you can see in the photo.

Saturday was the busiest day for us as we had a lot of things planned and I’m happy to say that we got to do them all and even a bit more! .It started out with us going to check out a donkey that was going to be visiting some of the little craft shops in a corner of the town. We were so excited to see him. His name is Sylvester of all things and his fur was so so soft and he such a gentle creature. Naturally we had to get many pictures with him, which we did. Both singularly and together. Some old lady also decided to get into some of our group shots but she’ll be cropped out of Couse. Sorry lady, No beuno!

Then it was off the to the beach for a little bit because you can’t go to Maine and not have some beach time, plus LD needs beach time. “E” brought her dog and we watched as she played in the sand, chasing balls, and meeting other dogs. The weather was actually pretty nice and there was no rain throughout the day even though that was a possibility, so we lucked out there big time. Couldn’t stay at the beach too long though because we had reservations for a trolley ride!

After that it was to the Seashore Trolley Museum to take a ride along the tracks on an old 1920s rail trolley with our couple-friends (M&M) who came up for the day! The train ride itself wasn’t all that long but it was kind of neat to be on an actual rail trolley from back in the day. What I didn’t realize is that I though since Seashore was in the name, that this ride who go along the sea shore, but alas it just goes through the woods of Maine. Still, it was an experience and we got some great pictures there in the actual museum which hosts a bunch of old train stuff.

After that we all went out to lunch back in the center of town at a place called Old Vines Wine Bar. I didn’t have any wine but we did have chicken meatballs, and I specifically had Ricotta Herbed Ravioli. The baked brie was pretty amazing as well. After that there was a hat parade going on in the center, which we weren’t a part of but stuck in with anyway. While that was going on, there was a couple of stops in some shops and a coffee/hot chocolate run.

After saying bye to M&M who had only planned to stay for the day we headed back to the Airbnb for a few hours to recuperate before the next round of activities. It’s a good thing we did too because we’d be really dragging and hurting if we didn’t. Age is catching up to us!

It started off by visiting the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust to check out this lighted meditation labyrinth in the woods. We eventually found it, although it was much further in than we had anticipated. But we made it and did the whole follow-the-path-to-enlightenment thing. Took some pictures there but it was pretty dark so they really didn’t come out all that well. You’ll just have to experience for yourself!

Dinner was at THE BURLEIGH, a place we had all dined at before, once again meeting up with our friend. It definitely has an interesting look as the bar area looks like Christmas threw up with it’s over the top decorations. I ended up having a burger there which was great. The fries were pretty great too.

By this point it was approaching 10 pm and most of the crowds had dispersed for the night. So it was a great time to hit the lighted bridge over by the Boathouse. We got some great pictures there of all of us. We also got stuff for Carson at a little pet shop in town that we like to hit up whenever we’re in the area.

Day three was a little more of the same, although less because it would also be the day we’d be heading back. We started out by going to a charity for dogs event at a place called Vinegar Hill Farm where you can win a Christmas tree or a wreath or something of that nature, and get a pic of your pup with Old Saint Nick himself. “E” brought Pippa and her dad brought Boomer, LD’s favorite. But Boomer apparently can’t really be in this setting because he’d be like a bull in a china shop and knock everything and everyone over, even though he’s a love. He just doesn’t know his own body size or strength. In fact, while taking pictures of Boomer outside with LD and Santa, Boomer got too excited and knocked both Santa and LD over. LD actually face planted, which wasn’t good and got some back and blue on her chin, but it could have been worse. Eighty pounds of Boomer is like a Sherman Tank. Don’t worry though, everyone was alright, thank goodness.

Before heading back a went around and grabbed a few scenic pictures of the area, hitting the famous Clam Shack by the river, the Love KPT sign of course, and the truck out in front of Batson’s. We were bummed this year that Batson’s didn’t have the outdoor fish shacks which is part of the reason we went to Old Vines instead. Oh, and just before leaving the state we hit up Yummies for some candy!

Did I forget anything. Most likely, we did so many things, and there were so many people, and there was so many laughs and good times. Prelude has gotten so big now that it’s been so publicized! It’s a pretty special place and we always enjoy our time there.

Oops! I did forget something! Before heading out we went out for brunch at a place called Musette, a little tiny café where the actor Patrick Dempsey (aka McDreamy) likes to hang out. We didn’t see him there that day bit the food was tasty and the vibe was small-town-ish.

Small Business Saturday with Goats!

We did a few things for Small Business Saturday. First we took a ride out to Holliston to this little farm that was doing some kind of SBS event. With a purchase you got to hang with the goats for free so that’s what we did. We also got some amazing catnip there that Carson really seems to enjoy. I don’t know what it is about this particular stuff but I’d never seen him go after catnip like he does when encountering this concoction. They also had this cool light up goat like the reindeers we have but it was a goat and large! Can’t seem to find it anywhere online – would definitely get one if we can find it. After looking around the town a little bit (truth to tell there really isn’t a heck of a lot there) we headed over to Salvage Angel’s pop up event. Salvage Angel is like a place that sells antique and kitschy type stuff but every so often they have other vendors come by and set up tents outside to sell their wares. Got some stuff there too.


After all that we had to pick up some stuff at Target and Wal-Mart. (I know, Small Business Saturday?) The Target pick up was uneventful. You just go into the spot, let them know on the app, and they bring it out to you. The Wal-Mart run was a different story. The same basic concept except they seemed to be overloaded and couldn’t run it effectively. After waiting for long after a half hour we finally bailed and may attempt it another day. There was one point where the Ladydoc in utter frustration yelled out “Where are the workers!?” in typical LD fashion. I thought it was pretty hilarious but she was right and had a right to be annoyed. By this point we were getting hangry so we hit the local deli and got a sandwich to nosh on and some stuff to make for dinner tonight.

Return of Peng

Had a great time yesterday. Everything went well, everyone had a good time, and there was enough food for everyone. Carson even said hello and got in on the fun at times.

Today I was tasked with beginning to set up the Xmas stuff. I got the reindeers out of storage and set them up this afternoon. These are the new ones that we got last year to replace the decade ones that we had before. I actually prefer these ones better – seem to be built better. Also brought out Peng, Carson’s Christmas buddy!

Campus Dreams

Last nights dream…

I was walking with LD along a college campus. It was a mix or where she used to be but had a large campus like Harvard, so somewhat of a mix of the two. We ended up sitting for a while and listening to some kids’ stories since they were about to graduate soon. One girl we focused on ,mostly because we could hear her, and she was regaling all her wild escapades to her friends. After a while we got up and starting walking across the campus because LD needed to get back to work or something. When we eventually get to the the building she needs to go in, I somehow got behind a pillar or something and LD lost sight of me. I recall the stairway out front had a series of platforms with stairs and ramps in parallel a few times. I called out to her and she started looking around. Eventually she found me to say bye for now and now unfortunately the dream is fading from my memory as I’m writing this, but we were going to hug but then LD said something to me and then all the kids were watching us and we ended up kissing in front of the building. Then I woke up with happy tears in my eyes.

The dream had more to it I’m sure, especially at the end but I can’t seem to recall it all now but I wanted to get down what I could. Why? Because I didn’t want to forget it anymore than I already have.

We have so many different varieties of lilies popping up all over the garden this year. It’s quite spectacular!

Yesterday was a crazy day and I spent a good chuck of it over at Earth-1. First I went to get my car inspected by my mechanic. That passed with flying colors, I had no worries about that. Then I took my mom over to Dunkins to grab a coffee. I had to drive her over to the Stop & Shop because she wanted to get a few things using her card but for some reason at the checkout the card wouldn’t take, even though there’s never a problem. While that was happening I decided to play the a Powerball. What the heck, right? We were there for a while but the card just wouldn’t take so we had to abandon that mission for a bit since her other cat had an appointment for its yearly checkup and rabies shot. He ended up getting a clean bill of health, although he is a bit over 20 pounds (he’s a big cat!) and he has some dental issues, but not unusual for a cat of his age. Heading back to Earth-1 I dropped the cat off at the house, releasing him from his pet carrier, and then we proceeded to hit a different Stop and Shop, this time in Medford, to see if the card would work there. No dice there as well, although I was able to purchase a crossword puzzle book. Basically the only one that I like because it’s the only one I found that isn’t too hard or too easy. It’s called Superb Crossword Jumbo y Kappa and comes out monthly. I’ve thought of subscribing to it a million times but never do. Eventually my mom ended up calling the card people and they’re going to send her a new card. It could be that from too many swipes the code has worn off too much. Hopefully that will fix the issue she was having.

painting at the vet’s

Heading back to Earth-2 I got stuck in traffic. Took me about an hour and a half to get back. Typically I can make the trip in 30-45 minutes. I had to pick up some meds for LD on the way so I did that as well. Then I ended up grilling us a couple or burgers for dinner. We ended up not watching tv or anything, just enjoying the silence for a change. Then we passed out in the living room but eventually found our way up to the bed.

The backsplash guy has been here all week! Mostly because of all the intricate cuts to the glass tiles that he had to do to go around corners and such, He should be finished today. As a final step he’ll be applying the whitest grout that the grout makers make! Looks real good! Getting to the very end of the reno now! Hurray!

Currently reading: Raw Dog: The Naked Truth About Hot Dogs

The Yearly Getting the Cat to the Vet Adventure

The Little Stinker! But we love him!

Carson’s owners were having a hell of a time in getting him to the vet today. The mere suggestion of a vet visit would send Carson hiding under the bed and refusing to come out. Even the sound of the cat carrier would make him bolt for the nearest hiding spot. His owners tried all sorts of tricks, from bribing him with treats to luring him with toys, but nothing seemed to work. They even resorted to trapping him, but Carson proved to be too clever for them, always managing to evade capture. One of his favorite moves was to run under the bed in the bedroom to be in such as spot under it as to be the most difficult to reach from any angle. It was a frustrating ordeal for his owners, who knew that regular vet visits were important for their cat’s health and well-being. In the end, with a little bit of coaxing and fake outs, his owners were able to grab him by the scruff of the neck and place him into the carrier. The boy was upset and confused and gave out the most heart rendering wails which did upset his owners and even the contractor who just happened to be working in the kitchen this day. But when all was said and done, Carson got to his appointment and checked out with a clean bill of health and a shot that he was due. He even got a little mani-pedi while he was there, although he was pretty nervous about it all, which we knew when the tech mentioned that he was sweating through his paws. Carson is happy to be back in his home now and everything is back to normal except now his parents will need to swallow some of the gabapentin he was prescribed but wouldn’t take to calm them down!

A Happy Father’s Day

In front of a New England classic

Today I was jonesin for a little bit of Kelly’s Roast Beef out in Revere Beach, so LD was kind enough to get us there today. I also wore my Carson sweatshirt which was a gift from last year but I wear it only on special occasions because it is so special. It’s actually a hoodie, with the face of Carson on the front and the text “Carson’s Dad” all hand stitched from a photo that LD sent to a woman in the Ukraine who made it. Truly a one of a kind! It took a long time to arrive but I’m amazed it came at all seeing as there is a war going on over there! I enjoyed my roast beef sandwich loaded with cheese and sauce, but I did switch hoodies when it came to eat on the beach because I would not want to get the Carson hoodie damaged in any way!

The other night we had some friends over for an impromptu BBQ and fire pit night. We ended up just getting takeout from a great Greek food place in town and then did the S’mores thing. It was supposed to happen on Saturday but the weather looked to be crappy so it all got moved up to Friday night and it was wonderful. We did need all of Saturday to basically recuperate from it all though. Being social can take a lot out of a person!

LD got these cool little firefly lights for the garden that are solar powered. They’re cute, purely decorative but I’m mentioning them because they’re pretty neat and it’s fun to look out the window when it’s dark out and see them lit up.

Happy Birthday Carson, the Best Cat Around!

Morning:

I saw the two mourning dove babies still hanging around yesterday. They are getting so big already. They were walking along the sidewalk pecking at things in the grass while what I believe was a parent keeping watch nearby. It’s amazing that they seem pretty self sufficient now but that the parents still keep an eye our for them. Nice to see.

Kitchen remodel is coming along great. A LOT of progress yesterday. Today and possibly tomorrow Ceiling Guy will do his thing!

Afternoon:

Ceiling guy is done! Now just waiting for the dust to clear so to speak. And I forgot to mention that today is Carson’s Birthday!

LD also went out and looked at some quartz countertops, I think it’s been narrowed down to the one to get.

Playing with AI Again

Found another site that uses Ai to create images and I had it create this dashing image of Carson. Anyways the site is called Lexica.art and it looks pretty cool. I also found a site that will generate a musical rap for you based on a prmpt you provide. I’m trying to get it to rap out something about LD but I need to work with it a bit more. If it creates something I really like I’ll post it. If you want to try it out for yourself the site is called Uberduck.ai

The plan is on finishing cleaning out the last of the cabinets today as demo starts tomorrow! *gulp!* I want to take before/during/and after pictures.

Currently Reading: Hollywood Ending: Harvey Weinstein and the Culture of Silence. Interesting life story about the dude but more interestingly, to me anyway, is why everyone was so silent about his abhorrent behavior and why for so long.

Carson Makes Us Bread

I had to run down to the home improvement store this morning because the ceiling fan remote just didn’t seem to be working anymore. I was hoping it was just the battery and I’m pleased to say that that was what it was. Strangely enough, even though I took the old battery out, the light went on with no power, which was truly weird. I figured that battery maybe just had one last hurrah in it. Anyways, it’s all good to go now.

I decided to remove the glass panes from the doors today and put in the screens, now that the weather is turning warmer, plus Carson likes to look out the screens in the early evening. Speaking of Carson, he helped us out with some bread this morning, which you can see below.

I’ve been charging the string trimmer because I need to trim some areas of the lawns since I had mowed. Plus there’s a bunch of weeds I need to get rid of. I did see a chunky possum in the street this morning, it was so cute. Such a strange looking little creature.

Currently Reading: Figured I would go with a true crime story this time around through the Libby app and decided to go with The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream. A little Victorian Era tale. Also picked up Scrappy Little Thing by Anna Kendrick.

Crocus Colors on a Monday Makes Me Happy

Crocus Blue, almost looks like a painting but it’s real.

When crocuses begin to emerge from the ground amid the winter’s dead debris, you know spring has finally arrived!

Currently reading: Quantum Care: A Deep Dive into AI for Health Delivery and Research. I won this one on a Goodreads giveaway so I figured I might as well read it, although I don’t remember applying to try to win this one. No matter, I find the subject matter interesting.

I had to go down to the pet store and get Carson another fountain because his finally died. They only had the smart version of the fountain that he likes so I ended up getting that, even though it’s more money and we really don’t need to smart functionality but I felt he couldn’t wait until I could find a dumb one, so here we are. This one does have a nice stainless steel top though while the dumb version was only plastic. Hopefully he’ll dig this one as much as the last one. Other than the stainless top and smart functionality, this fountain is essentially the same as this last one.

A Day in the Life of Carson

Carson

Carson “the kitty” is a typical house cat who spends his day lazing around and entertaining his human family. But, even a typical day for a cat like Carson is full of interesting moments and surprises. Carson starts his day early, as soon as the sun rises, usually after a night of his snoring. Like all cats, he is a creature of habits and has his own routine. He stretches his legs, yawns (a lot, I once counted 12 in a row at one time) and looks for his first meal of the day, his crunchies. Unlike other cats he likes to “paw” them out of the bowl before eating them. He does that with his water fountain too.

He wanders around the house until he finds his string toys, which are littered all around the house. After breakfast, Carson takes a stroll checking out everything and anything that’s new or interesting or out of place. He watches birds from the window ledge and his cat trees and takes the occasional nap in a sunny spot. Carson’s human family is busy getting ready to leave the house for the day, so he will spend some time trying to snuggle up in his favorite places in a sunny spot, although he doesn’t really like to be left alone. He overheard his daddy once call it something like separation anxiety. As the day progresses, Carson loses himself in his thoughts and daydreams. He imagines himself chasing mice, and playing with his human guardians. He dozes off and wakes up a while later to stretch his paws and flex his claws on his scratching post. In the afternoon, Carson likes to play a little with his humans. They toss him a toy and he paws at it with glee. He is especially enamored with a catnip laced cloth ice cream cone and his Dr. Pussums pillows, which his momma thoughtfully purchased on getaway trips up north.

He also loves a brushing and purrs contentedly as his humans stroke his fur. He also squawks when he wants something or feels that his very important needs are not being met. Sometimes (oftentimes!) rather loudly. He certainly knows how to get attention and his points across when need be.

Finally, when evening comes, Carson is alert and ready for his dinner, mostly a tuna concoction that his human daddy has to mush up with some water to a consistency that he finds acceptable. And of course some treats! Afterward, he indulges in some more playtime or maybe looking out the front door as evening approaches before settling down for the night. He curls up on his favorite spot, usually next to his human momma on the ottoman and as his eyes slowly close, he knows that tomorrow will bring a new adventure. Carson’s day in the life is full of simple pleasures, routines, and a lot of love. As his human family looks on affectionately, they know that even though Carson does not speak (at least not in English), his quirky habits and charming personality bring them joy and happiness every day.

My Top Moments of 2022!

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Thought it would be fun to list what I felt were the top ten moments of my life from 2022!

It wasn’t easy coming up with this list and truth be told, with the exception of maybe the top two, any of these could be in any order. I’m sure I’m missing some things as well here and there, but these are the moments that stood out the most to me from the past year. As usual the images I’ve taken during the year helped me to remember and capture some of the moments. You can click on the smaller ones to see a better view. And now without further ado, let’s get right to the list!

Number 10: Visiting Cameron the baby goat on Easter!

Yes, Cameron was born on Easter, and that white goat which you can see in the left hand bottom corner of this photo is Mira, his mother, which is short for Miracle because when she was a baby she almost didn’t make it. She’s turned out to be an amazing mother to her baby – it was fascinating to watch. So Cameron will be a year old come April of next year. Sadly, we learned that his mother passed away since from eating too many turnips of all things.I would like to see how big Cameron has gotten though, maybe in the spring we’ll get a chance to revisit.

Number 9: My Birthday Trip staying at a Treehouse!

I never saw this one coming!

Thanks to LD I got to be hanging in an Airbnb in Dover NH that had an actual treehouse overlooking the scenic Piscataqua River, watching baby robins being fed by their mother in another tree in the back yard, getting clean in the shower that had two showerheads almost opposite each other which was really cool, grabbing burgers at the BRGR Bar in downtown Portsmouth, getting some shots over at the Nubble, hanging out and swimming at Long Sands beach, eating clams at Bob’s and probably some more things that I can’t remember right just now, but the memories that do stand out to me will be with me forever. It was pretty cool watching the sunset over the river from the top of the treehouse. Hey, I grew up in the city, we didn’t have any treehouses! Especially not any as large as this one was.

Number 8: New Glasses for the Win

I finally got a chance to head on over to the eye doctor for some new eyeglasses this year. I’ve had the ones I’ve had for quite a while and I felt it was time for a change, plus I wanted to get progressives since the way my eyes are currently working these days. It was good to see that my eye health in general is pretty optimal, only a stronger prescription for my near sightedness was needed, which is what I suspected and hoped. Like I said, it was time for an updated look! They’re Versace to boot!

Number 7: February Cape Trip / Orleans House

After travelling down this very narrow private dirt trodden road we had arrived at where we would stay for the weekend at a rather luxurious house on Namequoit Point in South Orleans, Cape Cod. It was all very quiet and rather dark in the cold winter night, although you could see the beauty of the stars above without any light pollution. Once inside I was impressed with the rooms, one with a very large television set, and a cute little day bed to go along with the master.

After a relaxing evening with some wonderful clam chowder and a cod dinner from a place we like down here called Mac’s and a visit to our old standby the Chocolate Sparrow for some hot chocolates I rested up in order to try to get up before sunrise the next day. As the sun was rising, which you could see out the gorgeous picture window opposite the bed, I got to see various birds visit the feeder that was placed just outside. A good selection of black capped chickadees, song sparrows, tufted titmice, mourning doves, and a red squirrel or two, who seemed to have realized that all they could hope for was droppings from the birds above them. Later in the morning we decided to explore down to the Point, past the boathouse with it’s various canoes and kayaks laying outside awaiting the summer days. Although it was a pretty windy day, the sun was shining brightly on the bay and we took a slew of various photos. We walked in the sand all the way out to the tip of the point and have the photos on our phones to prove it. Among the sea gulls and horseshoe crabs that lay on the beach there was a cool looking petrified tree that we photographed ourselves with. I’m kicking myself because while I was packing for trip I had forgot to big my main camera and only remembered it after we were on the road for forty five minutes so I had to make do with my cell, which thankfully does take pretty good pictures and I usually will use just as an adjunct but I’m still angry with myself for forgetting my main equipment.

For breakfast we went to a place we hadn’t been to in a while called Jo Mamas (what a name, right?) that does does a really decent breakfast sandwich. I thoroughly enjoyed mine. After some more bit of relaxing I decided to see if I could get any possible sunset shots from the area whilst LD went off to get a much needed massage. The sky started to look a bit ominous though as perhaps it might rain or even have a possible snow squall. As four in the afternoon came by I looked out the window. It looked like the wind had died down considerably which was blowing quite hard for most of the day, but the clouds in the sky were getting heavier and thicker and more gray with each passing moment. It was beginning to look like there wouldn’t be any really cool pink cotton candy sky colors like there were last night. Instead it would look like various shades of puffy white and gray, which can be interesting in it’s own right. The clock said 4:17 and this time as I looked out the picture window I could see that snow had started falling blowing around in the wind. The flakes looked pretty big as they blew sideways from right to left across my view. Sunset was at 5:18 pm, I had decided that I will wait until five pm and then if it’s rather nasty out that I would give up on this particular quest. There will always be another time, plus I’m just not as young as I used to be so I have to be careful and be smart.

Five o’clock had arrived. it was still lightly snowing out and the sky was gray. I knew I wouldn’t get any colorful sunset shots tonight but I thought it might still be cool to see the Point with the snow falling on the sandy beach so I decided to take a quick trip out the back door and down the hill to the beach. Just as I was putting on my jacket I noticed that somehow a red squirrel had managed to somehow get past the blocker and found himself inside the feeder with the seed. Industrious little fellow! I zipped up my jacket, donned my hat, and headed out the back door. When I approached the feeder the squirrel proactively took off like a rocket even though I had no real intention of shooing him away, I just happened to be passing by. Down the hill back I went, past the boat house and onto the spit of a beach and grabbed a couple of shots real quick and called it a night for my photo adventures for the day. I got back just as the sky was turning dark, although it had looked like it was starting to have a pinkish kind of quality to it but I had already decided to stay put. Also by this time I had noticed that the red squirrel had come back and this time I watched him acrobatically jump from the ground, onto the cone that was supposed to keep them away and from there right into the feeder. To the winner goes the spoils!

For dinner LD was kind enough to pick up some take out on her way back from her massage. I had decided to get a juicy cheeseburger and she got a chicken along with a salad and we shared both! Then it was just a quiet night of more relaxing and enjoying the moments of each other’s company.

Number 6: Lavallette Visit/Yonkers NY

Spent a few days down in Lavallette, NJ at a Airbnb, in fact the same one we stayed in last year at this time. It’s a great location and a pretty good place to hang out. We had a some family stay overnight with us at the beach house and I do think they all had a fun time. We were able to see two sunsets (all three days had gorgeous weather), a full moon one night, and even whales breaching right off the shore. It was quite the sight to see, especially since they were so close to the shoreline. There’s a picture out there of one literally right next to a surfer, like he could touch it with his hand, it was that close. Had some good food (some takeout but we also made some stuff and gobbled that all down over the time stayed). We were able to enjoy the takeout meals while seeing the sunset at the end of a neighboring pier. The following night, we had our guests picked up by driving them to the JBJ rest stop area so that we wouldn’t have to travel all the way back to the Airbnb because we were spending an additional night. There were some amazing pictures taken there of LD belting out the hits with the guests. It was a really fun time!

We had a late checkout the next morning, so we took our time, ate breakfast on the beach at a local coffee house we like called Lava Java, and enjoyed a little more time at the beach as the sun was feeling quite wonderful. As we were about to return to Boston, we decided to take a detour and visit our old friend Chris and his two young girls in Yonkers, New York. There was a park right next door where we could all hang for a bit outside and the kids could play in the meantime. Beautiful looking children too. Quite a whirlwind of a weekend! As LD likes to say #livingalifeIdontneedavacationfrom!

Number 5: Spring Lake “Hut” Stay

Hard to believe that this was even this year, for some reason to me it seems so long ago! We stayed at an Airbnb in the cutest little tiny house (500 square feet!) right by Lake Como in New Jersey. Spent most of the morning getting there but it wasn’t that bad at all. We had dinner with a friend at a place by the shore and then after got to see some amazing sunset that was happening right above our heads.

The next day started out by us getting some bagel sandwiches at a recommended place down the street. We were not disappointed. After that scarf down we headed over to the beach which is within walking distance of where we are staying. Got the chairs and umbrella out, found a spot, and enjoyed the day, splashing in the waves and drying off in the sun, both under the umbrella and later on, out in the full sun of the day and enjoying some fun activities. I guess we ended up having such a good time there that when we got back to the cottage we pretty much unintentionally fell asleep and took a nap. As evening started to roll around we went out for some air and picked up a pizza from a cute little local place which we brought back and ate. This town really is so cute, from it’s little downtown area, to the lake area, and of course it’s seaside beach! This is also when we first experienced the JBJ rest stop.

Number 4: Goat-a-Grams Visit

On this day I was able to get a couple of baby goats to visit LD for a continuance of her celebration this year. They were the cutest things, named Speck and Ziggy, brothers as it were. A nice thing that along with all the goat snuggles is that they were going to town on eating all the fallen oak leaves. I think they had as good a time as we did. It was a fun experience and they came right to the house. We also had a couple of guests visit which was also very nice. It was interesting to watch the goat watch one particular guest and watch that same guest watch that particular goat! I would totally do this again. I’m glad the weather held out and didn’t rain. It was a bit windy (the remnants of Hurricane Ian) but nothing us hardly New Englanders couldn’t handle.

Number 3: Summer on the Cape 2022

Some of the fun things we did with a couple of guests we had over for an overnight as well.

  • Swimming in the outdoor pool in the afternoon to cool off a bit
  • Getting lunch sandwiches from a local deli
  • Checking out our favorite spots at Nauset
  • Heading over to Macs on the Pier in Wellfleet enjoying a dinner on the beach
  • Passing by an amazing property and then noticing some crazy cottages and their asking prices for essentially a unheated shack
  • Heading over to Rock Harbor to catch the last rays of sunset
  • Grabbing some desserts at the Sparrow as per our usual routine!
  • Winding down with the charcoal grill doing up S’mores and turkey burgers and washing them down with beers
  • As always, illuminating conversation!
  • Falling asleep as midnight approached
  • Saw some cool whale art installation in Chatham center as well where you could also bid on the artwork. We also got to see a large heron fly over our heads which was really cool.
  • Hiked the Eddy Trail, probably one of our favorite locations to hike of all time. As an added treat they had the story of The Lorax all laid out along the trail, a page or two every so often along the way. The finale (well, really the half way point since you have to walk back) is ending up upon the cliff face. It just so happened to be high tide, so we got to see various boats floating along the flats. We even got to see a baby bunny along the trail. Of course it was scared but very cute as we said hello and went on our way.

Number 2: Duxbury Photo Awards Ceremony

What an honor!

We got dressed up for this! A while back we had entered some of my photos from Duxbury Beach on over to the Duxbury Beach Reservation Committee and low and behold they actually chose one of the three that we submitted! I was notified that I’d be included in their upcoming calendar why back in the late spring. Imagine my surprise when months later, I was invited by them to participate in a thank you and reception to be held at the Duxbury Bay Maritime School! We arrived and were greeted by the trustees of the Reservation and lead upstairs to the Chart Room where all the winning photographs were on display, printed out and framed around the room! Very cool! After a brief talk and meet and greet with the other folks we all got our gift bags filled with goodies from the Reservation even and got to keep our winning photo, frame and all! They really do look pretty amazing all framed out.

After looking through the gorgeous calendar my shot appears in the month of September. Why did I pick this shot to take? I had just happened to be walking around by the bridge and I saw that most of the water had receded at that time so I wandered underneath. I think at first I was taken with the woodwork underneath the bridge road surface. I thought the texture looked pretty cool, and then the more I looked I thought the ripples in the sand and even the shadows created by the sun underneath was also pretty cool. It’s also something really related to Duxbury Beach as the bridge is a big part of it and I wanted something representative of the area. I also took “regular” beach shots but I felt those could be from any beach, with this, I felt it was something that only exists here and is instantly recognizable to the folks who frequent here.

None of any of this would have been possible without the love and support of the Ladydoc. From getting me here to sharing ideas and looking for opportunities for me. Hell, she even bought me the “real” camera that I used to take these shots way back when! I wanted to give her the credit that she deserves and for making me better in every way. All these shots that I take really couldn’t have happened without her in my life. So thank you LD, from the bottom of my heart.

The Runners Up!

Like I said there were so many things, even in a year when the pandemic is still hanging around, we did get to do a lot of cool things. Here are some more highlights that could have surely been in the top ten but I couldn’t fit them in. But here’s my attempt in a stream of consciousness type format:

As seen in the header image, on New Years Eve of 2022 there was some skating out out front of the town theater, hanging with Lenny at the Yoga studio, Carson coming out of his shell to meet visitors, various trips to the local beaches including Duxbury, Marshfield, and Revere. A cow named Dudley having a birthday party, Kennebunkport prelude this year with fireworks, good eats, and good friends, cleaning out LD’s old office in an adventure I called “Project Extraction.” Visiting our friends’ new house they just bought in Georgetown (we did this just yesterday on NYE), new appliances in the kitchen, a new bathroom in the basement and new flooring in the kitchen and cellar, some of my pix making the local news outlets including Boston.com, attending a couple of concerts this year, Johnny Mathis with/for my mom after being postponed for two years and a Meat Loaf tribute, partaking of food trucks over at a place called the Salvage Angel, a special Xmas Eve dinner from Rosetta’s, growing our garden and starting out with hydroponics, checking out an interactive King Tut exhibit during the summer, biking with a group in Cambridge over the spring, discovering Like No Udder in Providence RI and watching LD become a master swimmer. I also leaned a lot about cooking and grilling this year, making meals almost daily.

I read a bunch of books this year, though not as many as I had hoped. Some of my favorite reads this year however were the following: The Babysitter: My Summers with a Serial Killer, Egypt’s Golden Couple: When Akhenaten and Nefertiti Were Gods on Earth, Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture, Hell’s Half-Acre : The Untold Story of the Benders, America’s First Serial Killer Family ( a read I found in a little library in Chatham down on the Cape this summer), and The Story of Jane: The Legendary Underground Feminist Abortion Service.

… And now for the moment we’ve all been waiting for!

Number 1: LD’s Very Special Birthday Party Extravaganza!

The party to end all parties and I think everyone who attended had a great time! We were scrambling a little bit as the party start time drew near, with getting tables set up, and picking up the cake, getting a balloon and such, etc. Everyone who said they would attend did and we even had three dogs visit, including Boomer all the way down from Maine, and Lenny, a dog I’ve been wanting to meet for a long time. (My first time meeting Lenny!) He was one solid boy weighing close to over 50 pounds! We played a game that made you meet and talk to people to learn things about them and it actually worked and everyone was into it. Another one of LD’s friends was kind enough to pick up the main entrees from Canton so that was a great help. The camera was all set up for the selfie station and I set up a shared google drive directory so that folks who took one can download their pictures. (I’d add more here but unsure if people would want their images out there so I’m not posting more). The weather was perfect for a party day! We had some pretty great homemade props which I’ll be saving to use for future events.

People also got to see the new basement and bathroom to help us decide on colors by voting. So we had a lot going on, between everyone meeting everyone, eating all the various dishes, watching LD smash her piñata, cutting the cake, playing the games, and having a good time. LD even went out of her way and cooked some gluten free things for some guests who could not partake of the main entrees. All the desserts were a huge hit, from the cake which truly was delicious to the special ice cream sandwiches we got from Providence. As the party was ending (the last guests didn’t leave till around 10 pm!) we saw the SpaceX rocket in the sky although at the time we didn’t know what it was, circled around the fire pit. The main thing was that everyone who came genuinely came to celebrate LD and you could feel the joy. We have to remember that we really are surrounded by wonderful people who care and love LD and I’m very appreciative that I was also able to partake in that.

So all in all I’d have to say it was a great year. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all tea and crumpets, there were things that sucked, like the various hospital visits and stays, and some other setbacks here and there, but overall, it was a year for the record books. And so, with that, here is my wish for you. I want to pause and reflect and send you special magic wishes for a joyful New Year. Wishing you a year of… new beginnings filled with hope and promise… simple pleasures to enjoy and share… beautiful moments to remember always… and peace and happiness in your heart and home. Happy New Year everyone!

Christmas Prelude in Kennebunk Weekend Fun

Christmas By the Sea Fireworks in Ogunquit, Maine.

Back from a wonderful weekend in Maine during the Christmas Prelude festivities that the town of Kennebunkport puts on. LD got this sweet little Airbnb location right near the center of town so everything was really convenient and accessible to get to. The first night there, which was Friday, we kind of just checked in to the Airbnb and got some takeout and hung with some friends that live in the area. We got to hang with their pups, Boomer and Pippa. Boomer is a Chesapeake Bay Retriever so he’s a pretty big dog. He doesn’t really seem to know that though as his master keeps trying to train him but he has a ways to go. Still, he is a love and LD can’t get enough of him, they have a special connection, Pippa is a Jack Russel and a bit feisty but that’s her personality. I don’t think we got back to the Airbnb until after midnight. For some reason time just seems to fly anytime we are there.

The next day we got breakfast done the street at a little coffee shop and then headed over to some crafty fair thing. They did have some amazing looking gingerbread houses in one of the shops. In the evening we hit a restaurant and checked out some things, like the various lighted trees in Cape Porpoise as well as KBP and did a bit more shopping and browsing. Before that though we drove to Ogunquit to see some fireworks – perhaps that town wanted to get in on what KBP was doing. The weather was great all weekend except that it was a bit on the chilly side.

On Sunday we checked out some Dog parade they were having. Pippa was supposed to be in but bailed at the last minute because it was a bit too cold, plus she’s feisty, like I mentioned before. For lunch LD had somehow managed to reserve a fish shack at this restaurant called Batson River Brewing and Distilling. It was quite an experience. We liked it. And I have to say the food on this trip was really good. Every place that we went was great. I took a ton of pictures of which here is a sampling. Truth to tell I simply cannot remember every single thing that we did!

Driving home on Sunday night kind of sucked because we got stuck in the falling snow so getting home was slow but we made it safe and sound and that’s what’s important.


In other small news:

Gametime: Sophie the Slug. A fun little sliding game I’ve been playing with lately. I also borrowed a new book from my Libby App entitled “The Babysitter: My Summers with a Serial Killer” about the story of Tony Costa. It’s a pretty good read as I am enjoying it. I learned a fascinating tidbit while reading the early chapters of this book in that he actually lived two streets up from where I grew up. Pretty wild.

A Summer Like Day in Mid November

We went to the beach yesterday! In a strange turn of events, the temp today was close to 70 plus degrees and sunny so we had to take advantage of it.

What we didn’t realize until later is that I guess it’s been a while since we’ve walked along sand because when we came back we were all tired and hurting.

Although the tiredness could be due to the open faced turkey sandwiches we got from Gerald’s in Marshfield. Yes, they were delicious and we signed up for their individual turkey dinner for Thanksgiving in a couple weeks. Did that last year and it worked out really well for us.

The rest of the evening was pretty much just laying low, although we do have more stuff to do. We’ll try to cram it in today as we’re having guests later tonight visiting for a few.

Carson and Baby Carson!

Check out this cutest pick of Carson, photo credit courtesy of LD yesterday morning. He doesn’t usually sit next to his doppelganger but for whatever reason he did this time.

Channeling my inner David Bowie?