Saturday, December 30, 2017

Serial Beginner...

...at bowling...we never do it enough to become consistently good, but we do go bowling 3 or 4 times per year...so we're always beginners.

But that's ok...it's an enjoyable "fill in" activity, and it's one we did again yesterday on my birthday.

And that's a pretty good picture of me...it's my best side, and it captures the moment just before all the bad stuff happens...

Here's a collage Karen put together of our afternoon / evening of bowling and then dinner to celebrate the 21st anniversary of my 40th birthday...
The meal was at On The Border, courtesy of a gift card from Sarah...very enjoyable.  Please note the big drink was Karen's margarita...mine was the little glass of whiskey...gotta get one of those whiskey glasses...pretty cool.

The neverending snow continues...


...which makes me wish for summer again...
...as Karen posted on FB, looks like I'm standing in front of a small castle...and I do love our little castle...

Came across this spectacular art deco clock...
...encrusted with rubies and diamonds, it sports a 7 figure purchase price...made by sculptor Sandoz in the 1920's, I believe...wish someone would make a replica...I'd buy one in a heartbeat...very cool.

Hard to believe vacation is winding down, but vacation days fly by at twice the speed of work days, so here we are..today, New Year's Eve, New Year's Day, and then it's back into the fray...the worst part is going to be getting up to my 4:30 am alarm clock...I've actually laid in bed until almost 8 am some mornings this past week...yikes...my system is in for a shock come Tuesday...

later, mcm fans...

* Crass Commercialism Corner *

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Thursday, December 28, 2017

Early Morning...

...meditations...most mornings when I'm up at 4:30 getting ready for work, I walk to the kitchen and see the firelight flickering in my living room...and every time I think, "sure wish I could just sit down with a cup of coffee in front of the fire for awhile..."

So guess what I'm doing this vacation?  Ok, so I'm NOT getting up at 4:30, but I am getting up early and enjoying the fire in the pre-dawn darkness of my living room...I make that first hot cup of coffee and relax for awhile...one morning this week - in spite of my caffeine infusion - I decided it was just too early, so I stretched out on the couch and napped for 15 or 20...man, this is nice...I could definitely get used to this routine...
The view a little later as daylight begins creeping over the countryside...

Since we have apparently moved from the real world into an actual snow globe here on the lakeshore where it snows pretty much every day - at least until the big lake freezes some more - I have to get outside and shovel the white stuff off walkways, the roof, the driveway...last night before I came back inside I snapped this pic of our domicile...
I'll be honest, I'm still pinching myself...can't believe I really get to live here...love this home.

This morning as the turkeys were jostling around by the feeders, scratching in the snow for the deer corn I spread around, the big male decided to strut his stuff...
Apparently this is a display designed to attract a female mate, a kind of "hey baby, you want some of this?" ritual.  Hopefully it works in the animal kingdom better than it does in the superhero world...

later, mcm fans...

* Crass Commercialism Corner *

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Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas Night...

...Y'all...

And once again the big day has come and gone...hope yours was a good day spent with people you love.

When I was just a stripling I do believe the best night of the year was Christmas Eve...all the anticipation of Christmas was finally right there...so close I could taste it...excitement was at fever pitch, and we even got to listen to the Santa Claus NORAD report that tracks the Jolly Old Elf himself as he circles the globe...
...so much fun...

And then it was off to bed for a sleepless night, followed by what seemed like an eternity until finally...the thrill of Christmas morning.

But of course that was followed by Christmas night...and truly, there were times I felt like crying as the day came to a close.

Yes, there was still a week of Christmas vacation left before we were condemned to the drudgery of the schoolhouse again, but...

A whole year before Christmas came?  Agony!

Thankfully those days of emotional extremes are long gone...Christmas gatherings happened before the big day, right up until Christmas Eve...and of course my guys are all grown now and on their own...youngest is 31 now...so we slept in then enjoyed a leisurely day watching the snow storm swirling outside...
...while the fire warmed us and we listened to Christmas carols ("Santa's a Scotsman...it's often where he goes...he moved from Glasgow to Lapland...following Rudolph's nose...")

And just like back in the day, I have another week of time off before it's back to the real world...

Going to do my best to enjoy each moment of every day...but for now...

later, mcm fans...

* Crass Commercialism Corner *

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Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas Eve...

...Y'all...

Looks like Santa and Ol' Man Winter teamed up after all, at least 'round these parts...started snowing around noon today and we do indeed have a blanket of the white stuff tonight...

Meteorological indicators aside, hope you can take a moment to reflect on the miracle of God Incarnate...the baby born in a manger, God's Son, who ultimately gave His life for ours on Calvary's cross.

Without Christmas there could be no Easter, and without Easter we would be as Paul said "...of all men, most miserable".

So merry merry folks...enjoy a blessed day with family and friends...but no matter where you are, give thanks for God's unspeakable gift.


later, mcm fans...


Saturday, December 23, 2017

A Wonderful Gift...

...at Christmas time...from my #1 son, Micah.

The book itself is very cool...handsomely bound, it's a pleasure to hold and handle while enjoying the timeless stories contained within.

But what makes this gift truly special is what it represents and how it illustrates a fundamental truth in life: you never know what will come back to you, or when it may reappear on your doorstep.

In this case it took about thirty years, but all those nights of reading to my sons at bedtime decades ago were given back to me in this one spectacular Christmas gift.

I admit there were times when my only real goal was to try and get them to calm down enough so they would go to sleep, but guess what?

Those tales from Aesop's Fables, those sea going pirate adventures in Treasure Island, those years of privation and innovation in Robinson Crusoe, those childhood morals of The Sugar Creek Gang and those Christmas Hauntings in A Christmas Carol were not falling on deaf ears after all.

Micah and I shared a few laughs remembering back to those days and I will prize this gift for years to come.

And speaking of Micah, he and one of his sons (Isaiah) drove to Washington, DC this weekend to see his oldest daughter Tionna...
Micah brought along some gifts and the little Christmas tree for a touch of seasonal decor.

Tionna just completed her 6 week Navy Ceremonial Guard training and will now be representing the Navy at many official ceremonies and events.
A great honor and a big responsibility to be the face of the Navy to the country at large...so very proud of her!

Christmas is now just two days away, and our White Christmas which seemed a virtual lock a week or so ago is suddenly up for grabs.  A couple of days of 40 degrees and drizzling rain has turned our Winter Wonderland into patches of hard crusty snow scattered here and there around the countryside.

If we're going to have a white one this year it will take an 11th hour rescue by Santa and Old Man Winter.  C'mon boys, teamwork!  You can do it!

But hey, if you'd rather take the day off, I'm ok with 65 and sunny...see you boys on the links and don't forget your hickories...

Today and tomorrow will be final prep for the big day, but I'll be honest...for the most part I've arrived at that age where my Christmas shopping is reduced to writing some checks...boring I know...but Karen still does the shopping thing and also will be making lots of good things to eat for Christmas Eve...I'll do my best to a) stay out of her way and b) help out where I can.  Sometimes to accomplish b all I need to do is a...we'll see.

for now...

later, mcm fans...

* Crass Commercialism Corner *

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Thank you!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Acrobatic...

...squirrels...not sure why they hang upside down from the feeder...but every so often they reach back up and steal some more of the bird food...maybe they're bragging to their earthbound brethren..."hey guys!  lookitme!  I'm upside down on the bird feeder!"  I know they need great abs to arch back up and snag some bird seed...show offs...

Since we obviously didn't have enough Christmas trees in our home, Karen got another one for our bedroom...
...and I really like this "skinny tree"...very pretty at night, all lit up...and, since our house is a half moon shape, you can stand behind the tree in our bedroom and see the one in the living room across the courtyard...

It's that "half moon" shape that has driven the carpenters / contractors nuts...as one of them told me when I asked him what he was working on..."I'm trying to figure out how to pound a square peg into a round hole."

In the "this guy's obviously a spoiled brat" department, Santa brought me a Black Brassie from Louisville Golf:
...a beautiful, hand crafted work of art made of hickory and persimmon wood.

And not that anyone will believe me, but my hickory golf set is now finis!

I've got a brassie for teeing off, a cleek and a mashie for the fairway...a niblick for chipping around the green, and my Kempshall putter for on the green...5 clubs...anyone who says they need more than that is simply lying and you can tell them I said so.

So here we are, a week in front of Christmas Eve...
...and as usual that which seemed like a distant dot on the horizon has once again raced upon us...we find ourselves right in the middle of "ready or not, here it is" mode...
...running up the white flag of surrender on activities that simply won't happen for the press of time...shuffling priorities on those that need to happen no matter what...hoping we'll dash across the finish line triumphantly, having attended the right parties, bought the right presents, sent the right Season's Greetings with, for and to all the right people.
And somewhere in the midst of all the frenzied activity, we hope to catch just a little bit of the essence of the season and experience some of that Peace On Earth, Good Will Toward Men we hear so much about this time of year...
So in the few days remaining I hope all of us can cut through the haze of hectic schedules and center, at least for a time, on God's unspeakable gift to all His people everywhere...the baby in the manger, God in human flesh.

That's what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown.

later, mcm fans...

* Crass Commercialism Corner *

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Thank you!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Nighttime...

...visitors...a little hard to see but those are three deer at our feeder...trying to keep deer corn and apples spread around now that we've got snow cover...and they're starting to show up with some regularity.

And you've heard of the folk tune, "Turkey In The Straw"...
...well during the days we're treated to "Turkeys In The Snow"...the deer aren't the only ones who like the corn spread around.

Read an interesting book this weekend...a memoir penned by Burt Reynolds...
...But Enough About Me...Mr. Reynolds predates me by 20 years but I sort of grew up with him...he was the biggest movie star in the world, the #1 box office draw, for five years in a row in the mid to late 70's, about the time I started to take notice of such things.

And his book is well (ghost)written, not a nasty tell-all or revenge vehicle, not boastful or arrogant or petty.  As he was when you saw him on Johnny Carson, his book is self-deprecating and honest.

He calls it like it was, naming the good guys that hung with him during good times and bad, and calling out the fakes and the frauds who used him and others for their personal gain, kicking him when he was down.

It's a fascinating read for me because he perfectly bridges the gap between Hollywood of the golden era and today's modern take on it.  He knew and mingled with the greats from the 30's and 40's as their careers were winding down including the likes of Cary Grant, Bette Davis, Mae West and Frank Sinatra.

And of course he was contemporary with all the well known actors and directors of the last 30 years.

He also said something I can relate to..."I've done more than a hundred movies.  I'm proud of maybe five of them."

Though we exist in vastly different universes, yet I relate to that sentiment when it comes to my writing.

I've churned out many stories but am satisfied with only a fraction of them.

His point was he wished he'd made better choices along the way and had focused on stretching himself instead of just having fun.

Excellent career advice.

So this weekend was pretty good...watched a couple of movies...The Bishop's Wife (1947, Cary Grant, David Niven, Loretta Young)...

...and Miracle on 34th Street (also 1947, Maureen O'Hara, John Payne, Edmund Gwenn)...

...attended to some of the essentials personally (worked out), at home (grocery shopping) and at work (inventory classification)...so got some stuff done.

And now Sunday is winding down and it's back to salt mines way too early in the morning...

later, mcm fans...

* Crass Commercialism Corner *

In the "so convenient you can't stand it" department, you can purchase my books here and on Amazon.com!

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Thank you!

Friday, December 8, 2017

It's A Christmas Miracle...

...Santa brought us a kitchen!

Five months to the (moving) day - from July 5th to same in December - we finally have our kitchen more or less done.
That's a panograph so the proportions aren't right, but since it's a round room I thought it would give you a sense of the flow...we have actual cabinets, a stove with range hood, back splash and wall coverings now...
...and that's standing in front of the sink looking at the other half of the kitchen...love the coffee station.

Karen won't be happy with a couple of these pics since they include some random junk laying around, but a few hours before these pics were taken it was still a construction zone.

Here it is after Karen decorated it this afternoon for Christmas...

We're getting there...finally...still have some floating shelves and some finish work to be done, but we're better than 95% of the way there now.  Insert excited "woo hoo!" here.

And Christmas has come to the rest of our home as well thanks to Karen's tireless efforts...
So it's merry ho-ho around the homestead now...

Of course, the 40 / 50 mph wind gusts we had this week wreaked havoc on our plastic army of Christmas icons in the front yard...and up on the roof top click click click...a couple of Santa's reindeer learned how to fly, while Frosty, Hark the Angel and the Holy Family all got blown over, along with the manger...

So we spent last night after the winds died down restoring order to the troops...all is well in Christmas Village again.

And this morning we're covered with our first snow...
...love how the snow looks on our stone wall...
...and in our courtyard.

It's beautiful, but I can't swing my hickories on the golf course in it...dang...
...and never heard back from the course owners about my trespass onto their course for an illicit round of 9 holes...seems like a year ago now but it was just a week...from 60 degrees to snow in just a few days...welcome to Michigan.

'nuff for now...

later, mcm fans...

* Crass Commercialism Corner *

In the "so convenient you can't stand it" department, you can purchase my books here and on Amazon.com!

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Get your ebooks here:



Thank you!