Throwback Thursday: Disney Memories


Last weekend was the Disney Marathon and the ‘Dopey Challenge’ – 4 days, 4 races: 5k, 10k, half-marathon and full marathon! I read about it on a number of blogs from people who either ran or wished they had – especially Lauren at RunSaltRun who is plotting to get there for next year with her family to do the challenge.

All this Disney talk brought me back to the times we have gone there with the boys. The picture at the top is Lisa and the boys from 2005 – we were there over the 4th of July – it was great seeing the fireworks, but something else when we joined the half million OTHER people trying to get out of the park at once afterwards!

We have gone three times – May 2001, July 2005 and over Christmas 2007. Each one has a bunch of memories for a number of different reasons.

In 2005 we stayed at a time-share resort rental that was pretty close and as the kids were four years older we were able to do even more than before. It was a great time, and we actually enjoyed the resort quite a bit (up until the high-pressure sales pitch at the end!), walking around to the ice cream shop, using the pools and so on.

In 2007 we went with Lisa’s sister and her family, so there were eight of us for the week. It was fun but definitely added different dynamics than how we would have done things for just the four of us. Here is a picture from Downtown Disney:


It is interesting for me to look at that one – I had found out that my thyroid was dying, but it hadn’t hit rock bottom yet (and wouldn’t until I was in NY a month ahead of the family move). But I had been slowly gaining weight, and was probably about 50lbs heavier than I am now.

But for me Disney will always go back to our first family trip there in May 2001. They had just kicked off a more structured ‘Star Wars Weekends’ the year before, so we figured it would be a great time to go down – plus May travel was cheaper and less crowded.

Flying with kids can always be a challenge, but since we were doing this pre-9/11 things were much easier, quicker and smoother. I love this picture of Danny on the plane playing a game on an early Pocket PC from Casio (Cassiopeia E-125 to be specific) … I think the game was Mini Golf.

Sierra Exif JPEG

But one of the huge things from that trip to Disney was Star Wars Weekends, and in particular when they had the new event ‘Padawan Training’. We had no idea what it was about, so we hung around to see what happened and found out that kids got to participate. They were looking for kids between 5-12, so we figured Danny was close enough if he wanted to try.

He was interested, but didn’t want to raise his hand or push forward, so he hung back and let others get chosen. Then when the Jedi Master pointed somewhat in our general direction, Chris headed for the stage! Lisa was going to stop him, but I held her back – if they didn’t want him, we were close enough to just go grab him. But they brought him on stage – he had just turned 3 – and he got to fully participate! I love this picture … he is so cute and was so serious and engaged with the training!

EPSON DSC picture

Throwback Thursday – Thinking About Named Storms

Blizzard of 781

So I complained about the incessent need to name storms and weather events, and it got me thinking about storms in general through the years. This week in addition to the historic cold, in New York we’ve had portions of the NY Thruway west of Buffalo and route 81 from Watertown to Syracuse closed for extended periods due to the extreme cold and wind from the storm.

For me, when I think of a major named storm I always go back to the Blizzard of ’78. Anyone who was around back then in the northeast marks that as the storm to measure all other storms. When we lived in Townsend MA later, we would get at least one snow dump of 3 feet or more every winter, eclipsing the snow total of the 1978 blizzard – but not the impact. In that snow-belt area, the heavy snow would just be an incnvenience, and I would still head to work after working my way through the snow.

In contrast, in 1978 the entire region was shut down for about a week – the image shows my dad, older brother and myself a couple of days later just shoveling out. There was no school for a while, and without cell phones people who were stranded on the highway had trouble connecting with their families – I remember waiting for my dad to make it home down 128 – it was a tense day!

I typically pull out this picture in February (when the storm happened), but it seemed appropriate right now. Here is a remembrance marking 30 years from NOAA, and one from the Taunton National Weather Service. had a great slideshow as well.

Throwback Thursday – Where I Was Two Years Ago

January 2012

While I know it is silly in many ways, I mark 2013 as my first full year as a ‘real runner’. I say it is silly because 2014 marks the 25th anniversary of when I started ‘jogging’. And while I did a post on the beginnings of my ‘runner story’, I still haven’t finished the ‘middle years’ and ‘current years’ portions (but will soon). But like most things over time, there are ups and downs through the years of my running.

For example, around 2000 I was traveling back and forth to Philadelphia one week a month for a course for work, and had to compress four weeks into three along with my hour-long commute each way. My eating was terrible and my exercise routine was broken – so I put on weight up to 240lbs, the most I’d weighed since 1989. These things happen …

Right before we moved to New York my thyroid died and I gained weight. Getting meds and joining the local YMCA helped me get it quickly under control, but as the family schedule changed I left the Y and didn’t really get my running routine locked in … so I gained weight.

As I entered 2012 I had the normal resolutions about weight loss and exercise … but no real plans to make it happen. That is why I am always suspicious about resolutions – without a goal set they are easy to get lost. Another resolution was around music – I had let my guitar, bass and keyboard skills languish and hadn’t been composing … but what I really wanted was to get my guitar skills back up to snuff again, and even go beyond. I got a number of gift cards and credits and other things … and was able to get the guitar in the picture – which is a Joe Pass jazz guitar. It is gorgeous looking with serious tone.

The picture shows me in January of 2012 with the guitar, weighing close to 275 lbs – but less than I did when I started losing weight and running in April 2012. If you look at any other picture of me on the site you will see the huge difference – which at this point is 100lbs. In some ways I don’t like seeing these sorts of pictures, but at the same time it is important looking back as a reminder.

I have always thought that moving forward requires looking back to understand where you were and why you don’t want to be there anymore. What are your thoughts on this?

Throwback Thursday – Last Christmas and Christmas Long Ago

Arctic League 20121

Hard as it is to believe, next Thursday will be AFTER Christmas! So I figured I would put in a couple of Christmas pictures out there for today.

The first one is all of us standing in line on Christmas morning last year, waiting for the opportunity to hand out gifts to children who might get nothing otherwise. Called the Arctic League, it is a great way to start your Christmas morning … and in spite of the cold it leaves you feeling warm inside.

The crew is – me, Lisa, my brother John, Chris and Danny.

After standing in line, we go into a building and get a couple of bags to deliver along with a tag and a map … and off we go! Soon enough we are back home and warm drinking coffee or cocoa and unwrapping our gifts.

Christmas 1971

Now let’s jump back a few years … or rather a few decades! This picture is from 1971, and has John, Karen (with a doll almost as big as her) and me (with astronaut GI Joe). It is a scan of an old slide from my parents – I have hundreds that I digitized!

How do I place it (aside from already knowing)? Karen was born in 1969, and we moved from one side of Stoughton to the other in November of 1972. The room we are standing in was front porch on Page Street (now a warehouse sits at that address, part of an industrial park that took over the street), which was an addition where the tree was located.

It is always great looking back at pictures and bringing memories into your mind. Despite being so young (6.5 years) when we moved I do actually have memories of the house on Page Street. I remember that porch very well, and especially from Christmas.

What are some of your new and old Christmas memories? Do you have cool old pictures to remind you of when you were little?

Throwback Thursday – First Family Picture With Santa

Kids With Santa1

Last week at Bri’s blog she talked about how her daughter wanted nothing to do with Santa … and it really brought me back. Back in 1997 Danny was just over a year old, and had already done one picture with Santa when he was about 6 weeks old.

We wanted to head to the Burlington Mall and get a bit of shopping done, and get a picture taken with the Jordan Marsh Santa while we grabbed our annual Lenox family ornament. As it turned out there was quite the snowstorm going on – and where we lived northwest of Boston we got pounded on a regular basis! But since we just wanted a quick trip, neither Lisa nor I were really dressed – I hadn’t even shaved!

So naturally after standing in line for a while we got to the front and Danny decided he wanted nothing to do with Santa! That is why he has such nice rosy cheeks – he was all out of sorts, but with us sitting there and a solid grasp on his candy cane, he took the picture. And that is how we ended up with a family picture with Santa!

That was 1997 … and in 1998 Christopher was born, so I can’t help but share this picture, because … CUTE!

Kids With Santa2

Throwback Thursday – A Kitchen Full of Cool Seniors

Senior Year with Friends

While looking for other pictures I came across this one and simply had to share. It is a party at my house in 1984 and a bunch of friends were over (note the Pepsi bottles). There are a few other notable things:

– You can see the clear early 80s style in the kitchen – dark cabinets, pumkin orange curtains and the floral wallpaper (OK, maybe THAT is more late-70s!).

– The people in the picture represent friends from most of the main areas in my life – academics/school, Equinox, video games, and jazz band. From left to right: Doug Meadows, me, Paul Masalsky, Mitch Dmohowski, and Paul Bunson. Let’s just say that I can see all of the personalities represented by the poses in the picture!

– I have no idea about the button, but I had forgotten that Doug had bleached that tail of his hair.

– You can tell we are geared up for college, as I am wearing my RPI sweatshirt and Paul is wearing a Penn shirt.

– Both Pauls are wearing their high school letter jackets – which makes me think of how even the THOUGHT of running was still nearly 5 years away.

It is interesting for me to see myself at that weight, which is just slightly more than I weighed at my birthday in early April of 2012. I carried the weight a bit differently back then – and I was on the climb towards REALLY being big!

As I have been looking back through digital and physical pictures recently, I have also been reminded of how few pictures we have from back when film and processing were expensive and inconvenient (remember lugging 8-9 rolls of film for a week long family vacation?) compared to the digital era – particular now with good-enough cell phone imaging.

To me there are upsides and downsides to that, but it also serves to make moments in time captured like this one even more special.

Throwback Thursday – Thanksgiving Edition

apple picking oct 2008

OK, so more than just one photo this week …

The top one is from the fall of 2008 right after we moved to New York. We have always had such a great time hiking and apple picking and other fall stuff. This year Lisa had to miss hiking season, but thankfully her ankle is on the mend and by the spring we should be able to hit the trails again.

Here are five things I am thankful for:

My wonderful wife – she truly is my rock, best friend, and partner in crime. For nearly 25 years (21.5 married) we’ve been inseparable, and I look forward to the next 25.

Danny and Chris – I do not take for granted that I have two wonderful boys who are so smart, talented, creative, funny and such a joy to be with (most of the time anyway – let’s be real, they ARE teenagers!). I don’t know what the future holds for them, but I look forward to seeing it.

Enjoying time with my Brother – I have not forgotten how close we came to losing John this year. Over the last few years as certain areas of his life have spiraled to an end, I have been lucky to have had our friendship grow closer and stronger than at anytime since we were teenagers.

That Lisa’s ankle was the worst injury in our house this year – sure I wish she didn’t get hurt, but two months later she is out of PT and only has to wear the brace on occasion. I count us lucky for that.

That I have a job that supports me and my family – while the numbers say the economy is better, most of us know that the world has shifted and security just isn’t there. It seems like companies go quarter to quarter deciding if they will hire or fire … Corning is a really great place. They have guiding principles, and one of them is ‘The Individual’ … and more than any other company I have worked with, they mean it.

And finally, I am thankful for my health. Given that at my birthday in 2012 I weighed more than 100lbs more than I do now, I am ending 2013 the lightest and in the best shape of my adult life, by quite a bit. A full cardiac workup cleared me of concerns, and with good blood pressure, cholesterol and everything else … I am very happy to be in the shape I am.

Here are two Thanksgiving pictures from 1981. The top one shows John along with Deb Geigis and a bunch of others at the SHS vs. Canton football game.

The send one has my mom and I standing there – I am typically posed, whereas mom shows just how cold it was outside (and is wearing her traditional flower) … and Danny Aronson is with us.

SHS Football 81_b

SHS Football 811

Happy Thanksgiving!

Throwback Thursday – When My Babies WERE Babies!


OK, so I will admit to absolutely loving doing these Throwback Thursday posts for two reasons – sharing a bit about myself … and trawling through loads of old pictures of myself and my family!

Perhaps it is superfluous of me to say, but I was early on the digital photography thing, and as a result one good thing is having loads of digital photos reaching back through the years. Of course, the downside is that I’ve also had perhaps a couple dozen different Mac & PC computers since our first digital camera, meaning different software, storage systems, and so on.

This makes it fun to look through the past couple of decades – but also makes me realize how much we’ve lost from when WE were kids … but perhaps there is also a cost of spending time capturing rather than experiencing? That is a discussion for another day!

When Danny was just 8 months old we took him to Cape Cod and stayed in Brewster – and amazingly it was on this vacation at the Captain’s Table in Chatham we found out we were pregnant with Chris. We’d had so many years of disappointments and false alarms and painful miscarriages along our path to parenthood that it was hard to believe and accept – but also tremendously exciting!

In 1999 we headed back to the Cape again – and again going in mid-June to get better pricing and avoid the summer rush. We were heading out on the Ferry, and got someone to grab a family picture.

The boys are so totally adorable in this picture – hats crooked from the wind, all bundled and snuggled up (that was NOT a particularly warm summery vacation!). Chris had his awesome light fluffy blonde hair that was just magical, and Lisa was holding his blanket that he loved.

Cape Cod remains just about my favorite place to go in the summer … we were there in 2012, and I would love to get back again soon.

Happy Thursday!

Throwback Thursday – My First ‘Crush’

First Grade

I love the app TimeHop for the iPhone – it tracks your social media output over the years. So if you posted a picture to Facebook or tweeted two or three years ago, the app produces a daily summary of your ‘social media history for today’.

A couple of days ago on TimeHop I saw a picture I had re-shared on Facebook: someone had scanned our first grade class picture. That is me in the back row with the red shirt and bow tie. First grade was a transition for me – we started out on Page Street and at the North School, and in November moved to Leach Street and the Jones School (actually, for me it was the Clapp School).

But during my short time at the North School I developed my first crush, one I see staring back from the picture above through more than forty years … it was our teacher, Mrs. Weaver.

It is funny looking back at the picture – because I recognize so many of the names and faces. Looking at them as adults on Facebook is crazy – because we tend to freeze people to our own ‘experiential roots’, and they become that boy on the bus or the girl on the playground … instead of the late 40s adult we have all become.

Of course, that statement in itself brings mixed feelings. I was reading a remembrance recently of a friend on Facebook who lost her husband just over a year ago; names have come up over the years of people from our school class who have died in accidents or from disease. Then there are those who truly were frozen in time, like the 10-year old girl who lived up the street and died after the heart surgery after heart surgery just wasn’t enough anymore.

I also remember the first grade teacher after I moved, Ms. Botball (can’t remember her married name, or even whether she got married during our year or the following year). My memory of her is more as being mean, and not really liking her. Was that true, or reflected from the loss of my friends and classmates and a womderful teacher from another school? I’ll never know – nor does it matter … because I can look back and smile inwards about the fawning love of a little boy in a bowtie for his teacher.

Throwback Thursday – Fall Fun and Halloween from 2005


I can’t remember the name of this place, which is a shame because we went there a few different times. The picture is from October 2005, when the boys were 7.5 and 9. I love this shot – the place had pumpkin picking, a petting zoo, little store with assorted items and so on. It was a great fall day and I love this shot of the three people who mean the most to me in the world.

And since today is Halloween … here are the boys from 2005!