Throwback Thursday – The Easter Keg

Easter Keg1

This weekend is going to be crazy busy – both boys perform at the NYSSMA school music competition, Danny has his girlfriend’s prom, the SAT’s are the following weekend, closely followed by AP exams for both (e.g. loads of study time), there is a concert for both boys on Monday, Lisa has an important work trip next week she needs to prepare for … oh, and I’m going back to my alma mater for the 150th anniversary celebration for my fraternity.

I’m a member of Theta Xi, which was founded at RPI (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) on April 29. 1864. The national fraternity (there are chapters all over the place) hosts a national conference every two years in a different location. A few of us went to one in Scottsdale AZ in 1986, then I went to Washington DC in 1988, and then I actually went to the 125th convention in 1989, which was held in St. Louis due to costs of holding it on an off-year. This year the celebration moves to glorious (not glorious) Troy, NY! I have been back to Troy a few times through the years, the last time in 2009.

The big thing for me is getting to see loads of friends from throughout the years, some of whom I’ve not seen since I lost weight coming out of college. I am very much looking forward to having fun, relaxing, seeing the house, getting to watch it get entered into the New York State historical buildings registry, and just spend time sharing stories.

The picture above was from Easter 1986, and is really pretty self-explanatory – Easter weekend we had a keg party, and some of the more artistic and architectural types created this exoskeleton – which of course also had to keep the keg cold! Fun stuff!

Happy Thursday! Were you in a fraternity/sorority? Do you still keep up with your friends and chapter?

Wandering Through Thursday – Throwback, MiMM, Thoughts and Tasty Tunes!


Wow … holy ‘what happened to Wednesday’, Batman!?! Actually I know EXACTLY what happened … and it is a good thing. Aside from craziness at work, three areas I have talked about addressing – dawdling before my run, doing bodyweight exercises, and no computer in bed – have all been going well, and that immediately cuts into the time I would use for blogging.

So Wednesday’s post had already been changed around (hopefully all these changes means next week will be smoother), but I never finished it and ran out of time, so today I have a whole bunch of stuff crammed together – so let’s get to it!

Throwback Thursday


This isn’t too old – just last year. We brought Danny to East Stroudburg University for the American Music Abroad program, and before they headed to Europe they had a few days of intense rehearsals. That left Lisa, Chris and I to do things for a few days. One thing we wanted to to was hit NYC for the day … and while the weather was pretty miseable, we had a blast.

Going to a music store if you are a non-musician is boring at best, but for musicians Guitar Center is a blast! The Boston store is better than the one in NYC, but they are both loads of fun. Since I play guitar, bass and keyboards and have a digital music studio … I could lose myself for the day if I wasn’t painfully aware of how awful it is for Lisa. But apparently I lost myself enough while noodling on a cool semi-hollow jazz guitar that Lisa grabbed this picture of me. Chris was in his element working the CDJ-2000! If only he had a spare $10k it would have been his!

New York City is one of the places we are considering for vacation this summer, because we have never all gone together, and there are colleges both kids want to visit – which is a key element to our vacation plans. I’m sure we’ll find a bit of Guitar Center time in there as well!

Hurray for Spring!

I was so thrilled Tuesday morning when I woke up before my alarm and was ready to head out on my run. It was made better because the temperature hadn’t dropped close to zero as was predicted, and was 19F with light winds when I started out. That was still cold, but rather than worrying so much about being warm enough, I could just toss on a pretty standard outfit and go!

Wednesday was an odd one because the thermometer read 39, but it was windy … and the wind was quite chilly, making it feel more like 25. Still … 25F is pretty nice running weather! The issue is always getting too warm when the wind is blocked and then chilled when the wind kicks up.

And for the first day of spring? Again it was 39, but the wind was much warmer, and it was just a glorious day for running!

Oh, and how I talked about ‘working my plan’? By Thursday most weeks I would have about 26 miles done (not counting Sunday) … this week? 35 miles Monday – Thursday! And still home by 6AM every day! Sorry I’m not sorry that has messed up my blogging and writing for other sites!

Marvelous in My Monday Wednesday

On Monday I whined talked about dealing with the winter blahs … but what that really meant for me was how to get the weather out of the way so I could enjoy my run. Apparently expecting -2F and getting +20F was JUST the thing! So suddenly things went from ‘blah’ to … marvelous!


And as I thought about it, another draft-in-progress got kicked to next week, as I decided a hybrid of sorts was in order – my normal ‘thinking out loud’ along with a ‘marvelous in my Monday’. I loved Arman’s take this week, and want to link up for MiMM with … so here goes:

Danny Tux

Marvelous is – a picture of my older son in his tux at a fitting, seeing how much he has grown into a young man and how great he looks.

Chris Mens Wearhouse

Marvelous is – a selfie from my younger son from the same location, just hanging out being him.
Marvelous is – practicing ballroom dancing with Lisa, not being very good, but laughing and banging into each other and other things and getting the dogs all riled up.

Marvelous is – my running. I am not the fastest or best by any stretch. I am me … and that is good enough.

Marvelous is – reading. I had really wanted a minimum of a book a month, but haven’t finished ANY yet; with my Lenten commitment to keeping the computer away, I have been SO much better, and am nearly finished with ‘Night Watch’. Will I re-read the full series before the new one? Who knows … but at least I have a good start!

Marvelous is – my ability to get up tomorrow and run. I never take it for granted. I am not yet old, but certainly not young … and I know too many people who cannot do it.

Marvelous is – Food. In every sense. I talk about my disordered dealings with food, and it is a constant challenge for me. I am happy with how I am balancing fueling and control … I am not gorging myself, nor am I denying myself or restricting. Balance.

Marvelous is – my marriage. For whatever reason, yesterday we each had people at work remarking positively on our relationship, which always feels good – after so many years we don’t need external validation … but hearing that those feelings shine outside of ourselves is pretty cool.

Marvelous is – my wife, who makes me proud and happy and giddy all the time.

Marvelous is – our dogs, who are so full of love and joy and spirit.

Marvelous is – our 13-year old ‘cancer kitty’ Leo, who we decided not to have treated two years ago … and he is still happily tormenting the neighbrhood!

Marvelous is – Dolly, the 9 or 10 year old cat we have been ‘cat sitting’ for three years …

Marvelous is – music; I wish there was more time for me to work on playing and writing music … but what time I DO get fills my heart with joy.

Marvelous is – reading all of the awesome race summaries from last weekend. There were great reads from Cori, Hollie, Lisa and Lauren among others. Each has loads of interesting insights and details. It is a reminder that no two races are the same … which is true even when it is the same race.

A few other things (since this is a Wednesday):
The Post-Google Post-Buzzfeed World
We all see the headlines like ‘5 Power Mega Super Marathon Tips You MUST DO NOW’ … and of course the article tells you ‘hydrate, build mileage, fuel, practice race pace, and taper’. Um, yeah thanks.

The reality is that bloggers live in a world where Google’s page rank dominates search traffic and makes people use SEO as a guiding light of life. The result is that more and more blogs look like Buzzfeed (or Upworthy) with a bunch of over-blown titles that claim the universe.

Depending on who is reading this, there might be one or two recent articles that come to mind. I am not singling anyone out – because it is much more of a cumulative problem!

I was cleaning out my various feeds – Feedly, email subscriptions, Bloglovin and WordPress – and I have a HUGE number of feeds in differemnt areas. I track stuff from running, health, music, technology, video games, gadgets, deals, statistics, science, humor and offbeat stuff, and so on. And guess what – ALL of those areas are moving to the SEO-centric view.

The problem when you are confronted with dozens of titles with ‘Must Read’ or ‘Ultimate’ or ‘Essential’ or whatever other hyperbolic terms you can imagine? They stop being eye-catching and become annoying. And when I start to feel like I am being ‘gamed’, I bristle. I had friends at blogs in the past who I have stopped following and commenting … and when they asked why I would say ‘when you stop with 300 iPhone link-bait posts during the pre-announcement cycle I will come back’.

Fortunately there were very few of my running/health blogs falling into that category … and those that are, I am willing to cut some slack for a bit …

The Power of Optimized Mediocrity

I love this article called “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Mediocre People”, on accepting that most of us are not the whiz-kid billionaire types, but still want to do well and make a good life.

As far as I can tell, Larry Page has never failed. He went straight from graduate school to billions. Ditto for Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and a few others. But again, by definition, most of us are pretty mediocre. We can strive for greatness but we will never hit it. So it means we will often fail. Not always fail. But often.

I often read there motivational images about ‘being anything you want’. That is a nice aspiration, but the reality is you should focus on figuring out who you are and becoming the best version of that!

Totally NOT Marvelous Race Reports

As much as I love reading a great race report, there was also some tough news out of this weekend.

At the Shamrock, 16-year old Cameron Gallagher collapsed seconds after finishing and never regained a heart beat. It is a sad and tragic story …

But according to Runner’s World not the only one. In the UK at the Brooks Fleet Pre-London Half Marathon, an unidentified 40+ year old man collapsed and died near the end of the race.

And at the NYC half-marathon, a runner collapsed but was resuscitated quickly.

It is a sad reminder of the risks associated with any physical exertion – and that a half marathon is not a trivial challenge.

Still not sure about the ‘student athlete’

Because we are plunging into ‘March Madness’, it is time once again to remind ourselves that these kids are supposedly ‘students’. Of course, most are SINO (students in name only), having been recruited based on non-scholastic skills, put into ‘academic’ programs designed around the athletic department, and so on. Realistically, these kids are pro athletes, in the business of playing a sport for a school rather than a city.

I think my biggest problem is the distinction between ‘pros in college’ and ‘student athletes’. When I was at RPI the hockey team won the national championship and was a major powerhouse. The school also gave scholarships for other sports, but it was different. The hockey players had their own housing, whereas my first roommate was on the basketball team. Hockey players were almost all in the same academic program, basketball players were accepted into the school and THEN given scholarships.
Of course even hockey players were not all the same – there were some ‘pucks’ as we called them who had little academic skill to offer, others who might not have made it in without hockey, and still others who were both smart AND good players.

Lauren at WillRunForBoston talked about it recently, about how “In college, running wasn’t a hobby. I was on scholarship at a Division I team and I had to give cross country and track 110%.”

But I also draw a distinction between a more ‘pure’ athletic pursuit like track, and the ‘road to pro’ sports such as football and basketball. Think about it – I remember that Larry Bird went to Indiana State and Magic Johnson went to Michigan State … and those schools use that information to get more money for everything they do.

How You Game vs. How You Work

While my constant chatter on video games gives some a case of MEGO, there is a lot that can be learned about people by how they play games. This study just came up again, and talks about different types of video games and how the players approach work and other problems.

I was going to talk about this for Friday, but it really isn’t worth it … I am an engineer and statistician, whose life every day includes planning experiments, analyzing results, and so on. It is not surprising that strategic games or number-heavy role-playing games are most interesting to me, as well as story-centric action games.

And for this totally random brain-dump I’m linking up with Amanda once again. I have really enjoyed doing this, if you can’t tell …


This week’s JAM is Jack DeJohnette ‘Special Edition’ box set

This isn’t really new, but is one of those things that I never gave proper attention when it came out a couple of years ago – it is a remastered box set and I own two of the albums already. But rather than immerse myself, I just listened to the new versions of what I already owned and then moved on.

Last week I had the song ‘Third World Anthem’ in my head, so I pulled out my CD of ‘Irresistable Forces’, from the 1987 incarnation of Jack Dejohnette’s Special Edition. The CD is out of print, so when I left it in my car but wanted to hear it in the house I realized I hadn’t imported it into iTunes … and that the version from ‘Album Album’ WAS on my iTunes. So suddenly I was listening to this amazing four album set …

Here is the press info:

Special Edition – a band with revolving membership and an incredible cast of soloists including David Murray, Arthur Blythe and Chico Freeman – was one of the most sophisticated vehicles for Jack DeJohnette’s all-around talents. This set brings together the albums Special Edition (ECM 1152), Tin Can Alley (ECM 1189), Inflation Blues (ECM 1244) and Album Album (ECM 1280), underscoring the excitement of invention and possibility one can hear in this era of DeJohnette’s career. The recordings reveal him as an artist in touch with tradition even as he sought the cutting edge of the day, paying homage to his jazz heroes yet experimenting with new sounds. There are echoes of old New Orleans grooves and Swing-era big bands in this collection, as well as material crafted with the techniques of ’80s pop singles; there are ambitious suite-like compositions, and there is spontaneously lowdown rhythm & blues.
Recorded 1979-1984 and remastered from original tapes for ECM’s Old & New Masters series.

Across the four albums we hear the following musicians:

Jack DeJohnette on drums, piano, organ, congas, timpani, melodica, vocals; David Murray on tenor saxophone, bass clarinet; Arthur Blythe on alto saxophone; Chico Freeman on soprano and tenor saxophones, flute, bass clarinet; John Purcell on alto and baritone saxophones, flutes, alto clarinet; Rufus Reid on bass, electric bass; Peter Warren on double bass, cello; Baikida Carroll on trumpet.

What I love about ‘Special Edition’ is that it is a free jazz group working in a highly composed environment and led by one of the great drummers of jazz. DeJohnette played with Miles Davis on Bitches Brew and On The Corner amongst others – he could play straight jazz, fusion, funk and free.

The rest of the group is like a who’s who of the late-70s free jazz movement, so if you look up any of them on AllMusic and look at their output you will find some real gems. Rufus Read is responsible for one of the ‘must have’ books for bass players (The Evolving Bassist) … and all of that knowledge just spills out on these recordings.

Ultimately ‘Album Album’ remains my favorite recording from this collection, but that is largely because of ‘Third World Anthem’. Check it out below!

The albums are available on ECM Records for 19.90 Euros (converted)and Amazon for $28.49.

Here is a live recording of the 1988 band playing Third World Anthem:

So … what is running through YOUR mind this Thursday?

Throwback Thursday – The Zoo Crew

Zoo Crew 1

Some of my greatest memories from college are wrapped around my fraternity and the great friends I had there. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the founding, so there will be a big celebration in late April that I will be attending – and as a result my times at the fraternity have been in my mind quite a bit lately.

Theta Xi fraternity was founded at my alma mater (RPI), making our chapter the Alpha chapter and making us feel connected to not just the history of our chapter, but also the overall history of the organization.

But that isn’t why we’re here …

I have a bunch of pictures taken through the years, many on my classic Kodak Disc camera. I also accumulated a few from others, and since two of my best friends (Ken and Jeff) were really good photographers – and Ken took a photography class that gave him access to a darkroom and development equipment – I ended up with even more.

The ‘collage’ at the top is a set of those, and was hung on my wall for a while, and has been safely stored since. You might notice at the bottom right a set of evenly-spaced holes on a tear-off strip. If you don’t know what this is, please setop – you’re making me feel old!

Here are the pictures one at a time:

Zoo Crew 3

My caption was ‘The Big McNugget’ … yeah, not a small guy, and really in need of a shave.

Zoo Crew 2

Ken being Ken. We all know those people who CAN actually pose for a nice picture, but has much more fun putting on a bit of a show. I would say that ~75% of my pictures of Ken featuer ‘personality in action’.

Zoo Crew 5

Jeff – or JT as we called him – could grow a major beard back in high school, and sported one throughout college. He also had a green jacket and overall look that earned him the ‘terrorist’ label back before that was something you just wouldn’t say.

Zoo Crew 4

The crew and the Zoo Mobile – this one Ken took of us out shopping in the Albany area. It is JT, myself and Nigel. Nigel transferred in and quickly became one of our best friends, and the group of us – including Pete K and some others – were inseparable. He definitely played up his British accent for the ladies, and so it is too bad that he left owing the house a decent debt and has basically not been heard from since. I had a brief exchange several years ago after I found him online, but that went cold as well.

We are leaning against what we called the Zoo Mobile. It was a little beater that Ken bought, and it really needed some help in terms of appearance, so we decided to really do it up! It was over summer break and … well, you can see the results.

To this day most of us are still in contact, and many of us will be back in Troy in late April. That particular weekend is overflowing with other family things (Proms, music events, etc) which makes leaving more stressful, but I am completely ready and excited to get to hang out with old friends, none of whom I’ve seen in 5 years, and many of whom I haven’t seen in more than 25 years!

So what special college memories do you have? Do you do any reunion things?

ThrowBack Thursday – Vacation Time

Vacation 20022

Recently I have asked myself – what do I really want from ”Throwback Thursday’? Back on Valentine’s Day I had my #TBT post all ready – I had the idea, the story, and even the full text written. The only thing missing was the picture – and I discovered I didn’t have a picture that represented what I wanted, which was the trip Lisa and I took to the Captain Daniel Stone Inn in Brunswick Maine for our 6 month anniversary.

So as I was contemplating whether or not I would do one this week, I drove home from work on Tuesday just as a super-long train was passing the back of our facility. The rail weaves around Rte 64 that I take home as well as the maine highway Rte 86. So as I was driving I saw portions of the train on the other side of the brook alongside the road, then it passed under me as I went over a bridge and we split off in different directions.

As I headed home from there I knew what pictures I wanted – the four of us on the Cape Cod Railroad on vacation when the kids were young.

Vacation 20021

All I had to do now was find it.

Fortunately I hit the right shoe box and had the envelope in hand in no time; I scanned these pictures and was done.

When the kids were little we would take vacations in June (well, we did Disney in May) in order to get ‘warm enough’ temperatures, fewer crowds, and better prices. We loved going to Cape Cod – beaches, ocean, and plenty to do for all of us. It always acted as the perfect intersection between busy and relaxing – definitely never ‘Disney busy’.

Vacation 20023

In 2002 we had a ‘mixed bag’ year, it was a bit cooler and damper on a few days than in other years. We used that as an opportunity to hit places on ‘scenic Route 6’ such as the fireman museum, the old general store, Cuffy’s and the Cape Cod Railroad … fortunately we also had some warm and sunny days for Nauset beach, Chatham, and more.

The Cape Cod Railroad was perfect for one cool and damp morning. If you look at us, everyone but me has layers on to keep warm. The route is from Hyannis to the Cape Cod Canal and back, and it is very scenic and relaxing. There was some snoozing, and plenty of books were read.

There is so much about the boys that comes through in these pictures – Danny loved Spiderman (I think he was Spidey for 5 Halloweens!), Chris loved cool glasses, both loved reading, and so on. It is also interesting framing Chris next to Lisa and I separately – because each boy constantly hears ‘you look just like mom/dad/ depending on which they are with … and here you can see those elements, though I think Chris looks more like Lisa, and Danny more like me.

It is interesting to me seeing myself in just a t-shirt and shorts. Until my thyroid died I was always very warm, and so it is not surprising that I wasn’t layered. If we took the same picture now, I would definitely have a sweatshirt on, but still shorts … and the boys would likely be less covered. Funny how these things change.

Vacation 20024

I love looking back at things like this – especially as my kids are racing through high school and seemingly getting older and more mature by the day. I don’t wish for those years to come back, but I do enjoy revisiting them through these pictures.

What are some of your best ‘non-event’ vacation memories?

Throwback Thursday – Hitting The Slopes for the First Time!

Skiing 20093

This morning on Facebook the local news station posted some interesting information – they were discussing how because of the record cold weather this winter (averaging 15F below normal so far all winter), we have not focused on the snow … and we have gotten more snow already than the last two winters COMBINED!

That news made me think of our first winter here five years ago, when we took advantage of some local programs and headed out skiing at Greek Peak.

Neither of the boys had ever been skiing, and neither Lisa nor I had been skiing since we were teenagers. We thought it would be a fun day – and it was! We took some beginner lessons, then headed to the ‘bunny hill’ and beginner slopes. We made a good run of it on a fairly cold day before heading back to the hotel where we’d booked an overnight as part of the deal.

Danny decided to try snowboarding because he was into skateboarding. He learned that the two are not the same, and unfortunately the instructors were neither patient nor thorough, so he didn’t get much out of it and struggled through the day.

Skiing 20092

Lisa and I had fun, falling and crashing and helping each other up and having a lot of laughs all day long. There aren’t any pictures of me around … because I had my smartphone taking shots of everyone else.

Chris was our ‘snow-bunny’ – he would get to the top of the hill, point down and just tear up the slopes. The picture at the top is one of the rare times he was slowing down. That is how he ended up on the ski team the last four years!

Oh, and then there is this person who is wondering if it is time to head in for hot cocoa yet?

Skiing 20091

Have you ever been skiing? What do you like or dislike about it?

Throwback Thursday – A Joyous and Nearly Tragic Day

Chris Birthday1

Sixteen years ago today today our younger son Christopher was born. It is one of those days that I will never forget for many reasons – obviously because our son was born, but also because the path to our happy ending was very uncertain and fraught with difficulty.

We had gone through years of infertility and miscarriage before Danny was born, and after a few months we were basically told that if we planned to have another child – don’t stop trying. So we didn’t, and in June of 2007 Lisa had a feeling and we did a test while on vacation at Cape Code and eating lunch at the Captain’s Table in Chatham. It was positive.

That didn’t make it easy – throughout the pregnancy there was spotting and other difficulties, and Lisa had non-specific lousy feelings most of the time. But she held in there and on the pre-scheduled day we showed up to deliver our baby, just like we did with Danny.

As we went through the surgery our OB/GYN made a few things abundantly clear:
– Lisa’s scarring issues made the surgery no laughing matter and the attitude in the OS was tense.
– Lisa should never get pregnant again.
– Christopher was breach, and more of less stuck under Lisa’s ribs
– Another childbirth could very well kill Lisa

Chris Birthday2

Holding Chris at 4 weeks.

But despite that and relatively low Apgar scores after Chris nearly drowned in the amniotic fluid, we all headed to recovery. But we never got much chance to relax. We finally headed home almost 2 weeks later, but before then:
– Lisa had an ilius, meaning that her digestive system had shut down and would;t restart manually. It took TWO rounds with an NG tube to get her going again, and there was much bile and difficulty in between. It was scary when the chief of surgery was in our room trying to form a strategic plan of action around dealing with her. Fortunately it got resolved before we had to do anything drastic … but it was quite tense!
– I was standing in the hall with Chris about an hour or so after her was born and he turned blue. You might have heard about someone turning blue before, but when it is a baby … it is pretty literal! He turned blue a second time and was sent to the NICU, and when I joined him he was improving and one of the nurses quipped that THIS was what a normal healthy baby looks like.

For a short time I was getting concerned I would leave without a wife or younger son – but everything work out, and today that baby turns 16!

Happy Birthday Chris!

Throwback Thursday – The Wonders of Snow and the ‘Digital Shoebox


As much of the eastern seaboard is getting whacked with a powerful storm, leaving ice on some of my Texan friends as well as shutting down power for my relatives in Georgia and parents in South Carolina, there seemed to be an easy theme: snow.

When we lived in Townsend, Massachusetts for almost 15 years, there was one constant: snow. Before we moved there I remember talking with my father about a guy he worked with at Motorola who lived out there and it was constant snow. The joke was that whenever there was snow in the forecast … it would hit Townsend!

And when we moved there … it was no joke! Here is a basic summary:
– We would get a minimum of one storn dumping 3 FEET of snow each year
– We would get at least SIX storms resulting in more than a foot of snow.

The picture at top is one of those storms. We took the picture NOT because it was a remarkable amount of snow … but because Chris LOVES water. When we had a pool he would stay in for hours, and long after Danny headed inside we would be watching him out playing in the snow! This is his first year off the ski team due to other trips during the winter.

As you can see, this picture is almost exactly 8 years old, which we reflect on as he turns 16 next week! Where did the years go?

Speaking of where the years went … how about a picture of our house in Stoughton MA from the Blizzard of ’78?!? That shut down everything for quite a while!


Now that we are in Corning NY, you might think we are in another snow belt. I mean, looking at the 5 snowiest cities in America right now, there is Erie PA, then Buffalo, Syracuse, Grand Rapids MI amd Rochester NY. So four of the five snowiest cities wrap around us geographically … but we are nowhere close!

We have seen incredible cold, but not much snow. Our biggest storm this year was only 8″ or so, and I have only shoveled a few other times with a few inches each. The current story is only supposed to dump a couple of inches here.


The Digital Shoebox

In the title I talk about the ‘digital shoebox’ … what does that mean? Well, let me ask – do you have piles of old developed photos around your house? We do – and years ago Lisa bought some ‘photo boxes’, which are basically shoebox sized storage containers with a spot to label the contents. So we have several of those … and normal photo albums, and Creative Memories scrapbooks Lisa has done of special times and events.

Looking through those boxes is like an instant time-sink: you open up a box looking for something specific and the next thing you know you are in a different box just browsing through the memories!

Well, I have said before I have been on the ‘digital train’ for a very long time, about as long as reasonably possible … so I have accumulated thousands of digital camera pictures from pre-MP days up to the present super-hih res images. During that time we have gone from pre-iPhoto Mac laptops to PC running Adobe software and them Picasa, and now back to the Mac and iPhoto … and our image collection is A MESS!

The top picture was from an external storage drive, was taken with a cool Sony point-and-shoot that had a 3X optical zoom and 3.2MP sensor – not bad in its day.

But once I dove into that particular ‘shoebox’, I got lost for a while, browsing Cub Scout Pinewood Derby, First Communion, soccer, baseball, a California trip, and on and on. At the same time I was thinking ‘what a mess’ I was just totally glued to experiencing the images and memories again.

How do YOU store and organize your prints? How about your digital images?

And if you are in the path of the storm – stay safe and keep off the roads if possible!

Throwback Thursday – The Happy Engaged Couple


Aahhh … young love, isn’t it a wonderful thing?!? The past couple of days I found myself looking back to 1991, when we were engaged but not yet married.

This week on Castle the wedding planning stepped up a bit, which was fun and poignant in how they integrated it into the storyline. At the same time there was some wedding planning discussions in my office area at work, and a few different blogs I follow are written by people who are planning weddings of their own.

I love weddings, engagements … and pretty much anything related to love and a happy couple working together.


These couple of pictures are fun and ones I haven’t looked at in a while. The top one is a ‘selfie’ from Cape Cod – back when taking a selfie meant holding a camera out in front of you and hoping it turned out OK because you wouldn’t know for a week until the prints came back!

The second one is from a visit to recently married friends Karen & Bruce who were in Pennsylvania (she was doing residency at (Geisinger Medical Center). The cat was theirs … we wouldn’t get our cat until 1995.

It is funny looking at those pictures for a few reasons:
– My haircut is basically the same as it is now, but now it is a bit shorter … and populated with more gray hairs!
– My clothes are so basic – Polo shirts, button downs, jeans, sneakers – that it could be any time since the 60s.
– Lisa’s clothes – flipped collar jean-jacket, acid-wash jeans, etc … clearly mark the era.

It is funny how men’s fashion tends to be much more timeless, whereas even the staples of women’s clothing swing with the overall trends. I wonder why that is?

Love looking back at those crazy kids having so much fun so long ago … and how lucky I am to want nothing more than to take more Cape Cod selfies with Lisa now.

Throwback Thursday: Smartfood

My beautiful picture

OK, so how many of you have eaten Smartfood? Y’know, the white cheddar coated air-popped popcorn that has been part of Frito Lay since 1990 according to Wikipedia? Honestly I have no idea how popular it is anymore, how it is viewed by anyone buying snacks, or … well, pretty much anything.

Here is about all I know:
– Smartfood was started almost by accident in 1985 … and was a fast success in the Boston area. I remember it hitting stores in my home area and thinking it was really good.
– A couple of years later we were approached by their marketing team, they were looking for energetic college kids to wear the bags, wave to cars, and hand out samples. Our pay? Smartfood of course!

For more details you can check out the link above or this 1990 article from right after Frito Lay bought Smartfood looking at the boom in bagged popcorn.

I remember a constant stream of boxes full of bags of Smartfood coming into the fraternity house, and then as the campaign tapered, we got our final reward – an entire truck full of boxes that we unloaded and worked through way too quickly.

I love this picture – taken in Albany in the depths of winter, you see the snowbanks and an old car in the background, and we are wearing the big bags, boxer shorts and a couple of us also wore headbands. We kept the shorts and headbands, which I had for a number of years.

I am on the left side of the picture, clapping when I should have been high-stepping. Oh well, I was never going to be a dancer …

Throwback Thursday: Generations

My beautiful picture

I thought for this week it would be fun to step back through the generations – actually, a couple of these pictures were in draft ‘TBT’s and looking for something for today I saw pictures of my parents and grandparents, and in each one iPhoto tried to tag someone as me … so this idea was born. The idea was to trace from my boys to me to my dad to his dad. I would love to go further, but I don’t have any pictures beyond that.

The picture at the top is from Christmas 1998. I always loved reading stories to the boys – and it was more like ‘reading with’ them even at an early age. They had a great curiosity for books which continues today. The book is ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’, Danny is just over 2 years old and Chris is 10 months … and they are both just so darn cute.

My beautiful picture

This picture is from the summer of 1969 – I know that as I have pictures with my sister Karen as a very little baby close to this one. John is on the left and I’m on the right – he would be almost 6 and I was just 3 years old. This is another picture from the house on Page St. in North Stoughton … where a warehouse in an industrial park sits now.

My beautiful picture

Stepping back a few more years, before house and kids! I love this picture of my parents at Christmas – my dad has a classic early 60s thin tie. I don’t have exact info, but I think this is from my mom’s parent’s house, as the one clearly at my dad’s parents has my mom in a different dress.

My beautiful picture

This is the one of a very few pictures I have of my grandparents on my father’s side together, and sadly the slide I scanned already had faded to the point it is here.

My grandmother died at 54 in 1975, and although I was only 9 years old when she died, I still have memories of her being alive and of visiting her in the hospital. My grandfather died in 1983, and was my closest grandparent. He gave me a great pair of boots that lasted for years, and also a four-album set of Wagner’s orchestral music. He was just a wonderful person and it was sad to see him fade away due to colon cancer.

It is funny as I have these nostalgic thoughts – he also drove my mother crazy with some of his stuff. He would come over on Sundays, and always bring Swedish braid bread with him. He would back into the driveway, and I’m sure there were other things that prompted my mom to say that the day my dad started backing into the driveway she would shoot him!

This was a very different time, as everyone on both sides of the family was within a 10 mile radius (now everyone is in a different state!). I love those early Christmas pictures, because EVERYONE is in them, even some people I never got to meet becuase they died before I was born. Same for the picture set that included the one with my brother – it was a family gathering with lots of aunts, uncles, cousins and so on from both sides.

I would love to hear any ‘generational’ family stories you have to share!

Have a great Thursday, and I hope it is warmer wherever you are today (when I left for my run this morning it was -2F)!