New Instagram Photo:

New Instagram Photo:
Short hike with both of my children yesterday – enjoying the same trail used for a few of my latest runs.
10. October 2014 · Comments Off on Morning moonrise over Bigelow Commons · Categories: Enfield, iPhone, pictures

New Instagram Photo:

New Instagram Photo:
Heublein Tower against a strikingly blue, cloudless sky.

Early this afternoon, while our son was in class at our local community college, a woman called 911 to report that she had seen a man with a gun. Given the recent situation in Newtown just an hour from here, the response was rapid and intense. The campus was put into an immediate lockdown. I hadn’t heard about the situation when I received a text from our son. Needless to say, I was very concerned.

The police from multiple cities descended on the campus and started searching room by room and found, thankfully, nothing. Since Sandy Hook, there isn’t a police force in the country that is making light of any situation. The same can be said about this time. At least the parents can be thankful that such a quick and forceful response was carried out in this case.

This weekend, we are celebrating Sue’s mom’s 90th birthday. We have two of her children coming in from out of state, as well as at least one nephew and his family coming up from North Carolina. Our niece may be coming from Virginia, but Hurricane Sandy may have ruined her husband’s plan to see his childhood friend run the ING New York Marathon this weekend.

The celebration of Connie’s 90 years makes me think about how many things she has lived through. Being 90 now puts her birthdate in 1922. From a bad perspective, she’s lived through the great depression, World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, many floods, hurricanes and other natural disasters, and, sadly, the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. On a positive note, she’s lived through 100% of commercial flight, the entire space program, and the addition of Alaska and Hawaii as states.

She also lived through a 50+ year marriage, the birth of four children, ten grandchildren, ten great grandchildren (so far), dozens of weddings and plenty of funerals. She has never lived outside of the eastern seaboard of the United States, but has traveled around the world, including camping on the beach in Mexico with Sue and I. To say she’s had a full life is quite the understatement.

She has also now moved for what we think will be the last time. We helped her relocate from Georgia back to Connecticut. She is enjoying life in her adult apartment, along with a full array of social activities. She’s in a very happy place now – and at 90, certainly deserves it!

Now this would be very interesting (and in our neighboring town)!

The Best Daily Deals in Hartford – Onyx Spirits Company – Moonshine Tasting and Mixology Experience:

It’s been a while since I last posted, but wanted to try and catch up before the summer slips by and it’s fall. I have several other blogs that have also slipped without updates as well, so here’s my reasons / excuses.

This spring took the family on a few excursions including several trips to my daughter’s college, one anniversary trip to Cape Cod, and a trip to Las Vegas for work for me. This is minor compared to my wife’s travel schedule which has been nuts. When she travels, my life is turned on it’s ear keeping everything running here, feeding everyone, and still putting in my 60 – 70 hour weeks. My exercise has gone to pot for the most part as well, difficult to keep a consistent routine going with all of that going on.

Our 25th anniversary took place at the end of February with little fanfare. We went out to dinner at a nice restaurant, then headed back to work the next day. Our big celebration consisted of a 2-night, 3-day trip to Cape Cod. We stayed at a Bed & Breakfast in Brewster, Maine. When we arrived on Friday, we just relaxed by walking on the beach, then heading to an early dinner at a very fancy restaurant. The package we purchased included a dinner at one of a couple of really nice places, a bottle of wine, and the two nights. The hosts at the B&B were lovely and I’d stay there again in a heartbeat. The second day, we spent just wandering around the Cape with no particular plans on where to go or when to be there. We saw several lighthouses and over 30 whales from the shoreline. We ate at a local bar close to the B&B and had fantastic food and relaxing conversation. The next day, we went south towards Woods Hole and Falmouth to see even more lighthouses check out the southern coast. It was very relaxing.

In May, I headed to Las Vegas for a 2-day information security forum. It was very professionally done, and gave me the chance to network with others in my industry. We stayed at the Cosmopolitan, one of the newest properties on the strip. When we finished on Friday, I walked the strip for a while. It didn’t take long to find a host of strange people. I walked through the MGM Grand for the first time since 1994 or 1995. It has gone so far downhill from what I remember, but other properties were simply over the top gorgeous.

Finally, this week took me on Wednesday (and my wife again on Friday) to drop (pick up) our daughter at college for her orientation. It was a bit strange leaving her there, even if I returned 15 minutes later to give her important items she had left in the car (wallet, ID, money). She may be grown up but she’s still our little girl at times!

Our family relocated to New England almost three years ago. I moved here first, spending almost three months solo while Sue sold the house, the kids finished school, and I dove into a new job while looking for a place to live. We knew that moving the kids at this point was risky, but that better schools and an overall better environment was worth the trade-off. The other major driver was that my company was going under fast and, as the primary breadwinner in the house, needed to secure a job with a company that actually had a future. Taking a couple of young adults that had spent their entire formative life in one area and dropping them in a new town 500 miles to the north was going to be tough on them.

The move has been very good overall. We’ve adjusted to the extreme weather changes, the school system, and the fact that three years later, we are still the “new” family in town. At least we thought we had until this week.

Our daughter is having her Junior Prom this weekend. She is incredibly resilient when it comes to finding friends and developing bonds with those friends. She has been the primary support for a few of those new friends since she didn’t have any of the history that comes along with the majority of these kids growing up in the same small town (3 elementary schools, 1 middle school and 1 high school). Most have gone to school together for 11 years now, she joined them 9 years into that journey. As with many American towns, there is a portion of high school kids that drink and a portion that smoke weed. There are also a portion of kids that do neither – mostly because they have decided not to (not because there isn’t ample opportunity). Our kids are both in the “do neither” camp.

So with the prom comes the inevitable after prom parties. There will certainly be both booze and weed at a bunch of those, and likely a few serious automobile accidents. To help “protect” our daughter, we told her a month ago that she could hold her after prom party at our house. We would clear out the beer from the fridge and the booze from the basement bar. The kids have access to the in-ground hot tub, the TV, food, and a place to crash. Keys would be collected and they could have a great time. All in all, about 25 kids were expected to show – that is until late this week.

It seems that being the “new” family in town meant that parents didn’t know us, so were stepping in and rescinding their kids’ previous acceptance and redirecting them to different parties where they knew the kids. At least one of those parties will have booze – the kids have been told to “smuggle” it in – but that is apparently not a concern to some of these parents. You see, the parents have known each other for 11 or more years, so can overlook the transgressions of the kids because of this history. So even though the party here will be safe and the kids will have fun, the parents have determined that their kids won’t really be at risk elsewhere because of the history with the host parents – good, bad, or indifferent. At some level, it would make sense if we had the same history, but at another level, it sucks for my kid being in the house that simply doesn’t have the history here. The real rub is that the former “friend” of our daughter is really nothing but a bully, manipulating the situation so she is in control. The parents of others are completely blind to the bullying that is going on.

So we’re dealing with our child facing the reality of having a very disappointed prom evening – and leaving a bad set of memories for her only high school prom. The one thing that she has going for her is that in less than two years, she will be in college, at a campus where the playing field is level once again. While our daughter is the ultimate survivor, I wish I could wave a magic wand and make this high school crap just go away.

On a final note, my wife said yesterday that this was the first time she regretted moving north. While there would have been other issues had we stayed in Virginia, this simply wouldn’t have been one of them. We were established with a large group of friends – parents of our children’s childhood friends. Here, we’re still the new family in town, even after three years.

During the past month, 71.1 inches of snow has fallen at Bradley International Airport near Hartford. That is a short 10 or so miles from my home. Since the temps have been above freezing for the entire month (sans a couple of total hours), the snow that has fallen is still mostly here. I am actually running out of places to put the snow. The streets have become practically one-way streets and oncoming cars while you are attempting to pull out at a corner are accidents waiting to happen. So, my exercise over the past month has been largely relegated to snow shoveling. My arms have been getting quite the workout, and noted in the shower this morning that they have started getting some definition again. Running outside would be a dangerous activity as well, so that has been put on hold until at least a bit of thawing of the huge snowbanks helps increase my visibility. Even my attempts to make it to the gym have been foiled by the weather. Our gym even requests that you change shoes when you get to their facility – further proof of the terrible weather outside.

On Wednesday, I had full intention to make it to my spinning class at our YMCA, but the roads were again a mess, making that an unwise trip. I could have found the car facility closed or my car in a ditch. Neither of these would have made me happy, so I opted to stay home. Thursday, another 12 inches of snow fell on my house, forcing a solid 90-minute effort to clear the driveway so I could take my wife to the airport that afternoon. A full day of work, albeit telecommuting, kept me quite busy for the day.

Tomorrow, I will spin again for only the second time with the “new” instructor. I’m looking forward to a great aerobic hour and feeling like I have actually accomplished something during the month of January to help keep my legs, rather than just my biceps, in shape.