Friday, May 31, 2013

Friday Funnies

Highway driving usually always gives us some interesting sights.

This company used ALL the available space on the back of this truck and even had a piano keyboard on the side (missed that shot).

full truck labelsAnd, I tried NOT to nag Grenville after seeing this one . . . Caution Live Goats Onboard

goats truck (1)Enjoy the weekend, folks.  It’s  HOT weather time here on the Eastern Shore (and most of the east coast) the next few days.

Our thoughts & prayers are with Midwesterners and all others in harm’s way from violent weather outbreaks.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Ribs, Slaw & Baked Beans

This past weekend we invited good friends, Marty & Bob to join us to savor Grenville's famous Frog & PenguINN smoked ribs prepared with his special rub mix.

I prepared side dishes of cole slaw and baked beans — easy was the keyword.

Classic Slaw Dressing

I remember when the cole slaw mix bag had a dressing recipe  which called for white vinegar and white sugar. Since there was no dressing recipe on the bag, this one from the Fresh Express website was a delicious change. 
  • 1 package cole slaw mix
  • 1/2 C mayonnaise
  • 2 TBSP rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 TBSP milk or soy milk
  • 1 tsp ground celery seed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Whisk dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Let sit 15 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Stir before adding to slaw. Note: use a food or blender for a smoother dressing. 

Baked beans are a great side dish — summertime dining or take-along dish — especially when you make your own. Sure, you can buy canned baked beans and reheat them, but not only is homemade much tastier, but you can "doctor"  or modify it, and there's lots of variations. Some folks use ketchup and/or prepared mustard. So if you like those ingredients, substitute OR try some of your own variations.
(Baked) Campbell’s Pork & Beans
  • 2 (28 oz.) cans Campbell's Baked Beans 
  • 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 1/2 C barbecue sauce
  • 1 TBSP dried mustard
  • 1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 large onion (chopped)
  • 5-6 slices of crispy cooked bacon, crumbled

  1. Mix first 5 ingredients together in large bowl.
  2. Fry bacon until well done. Reserve some of bacon drippings.
  3. Sauté onion in drippings until tender, but not browned .
  4. Add crumbled bacon and onion to beans, mix thoroughly
  5. Bake uncovered in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until thickened to desired consistency. Cool slightly before serving.

Monday, May 27, 2013

In Remembrance

Memorial Day (formerly called Decoration Day) is a U.S. federal holiday observed each year on the last Monday in May to remember men and women who died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. The observance was started after the American Civil War to commemorate Union and Confederate soldiers who died in that war. It was extended after World War I to honor all Americans who died serving in military service and became a national holiday in 1971.

Friday, May 24, 2013

How Our Garden Grows . . .

MUCH smaller now when compared to several years ago when the Frog & PenguINN veggie garden took up most of the back yard as “Farmer” Grenville set up 5 large beds.

IMG_7533garden overall 0628 (2)All that gardening, produced a LOT of fresh vegetables — TOO many for only 2 people. There were giveaways to friends and neighbors and deliveries to out-of-state family members during summer road trips.veggie outputIn recent years, Grenville progressively downsized the garden beds from 5 to 3 and finally to only 2 beds.

gardens past collageFor the past couple of years, the F&P veggie garden has been downsized to the footprint of Grenville’s former layout (2)This year’s garden includes eggplant, tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. Our larger gardens were fun projects the first couple of years, but required planting, tending, and harvesting — all of which we did. We froze veggies, canned tomatoes and pickles, made salsa, and ate a lot of zucchini dishes; we had a LOT of those veggies, as did other local gardeners who offered some to us.veggie collageThe garden frogs are back  and so are the garden flamingoes . . .garden friendsflamingo collageThis year, friends have planted larger gardens, so we’ve volunteered to relieve them of excess veggies. Also, we make weekend visits to a Saturday Farmer’s Market in the next town which offers a variety of locally grown produce and items such as eggs and honey.

Anyone else planting a veggie garden, large or small ?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Sadness in Many Places . . .

white calla lily12 0607Events of recent days have made posting seem very irrelevant.

Like many of you, our thoughts and prayers have been for those affected by the storms and tornadoes that struck Oklahoma and other parts of the country with the loss of lives and widespread devastation.

More recently, we have remembered those affected by the bombings in Boston as well.

white calla lily14 0607Tragedy is increasingly becoming top news whether man-made or caused by forces of nature. We hope that you and your loved ones and friends are (and remain) out of harm’s way as we do for our own family and friends.

We are thankful for so much.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Sweeter Than You Think - Vidalia Onions

IMG_0321There was a sale on these sweet onions at our local market, and taking advantage of this great deal meant buying a bag.
Sure, we’ve tried them before but usually only buying 1 or 2 at a time.
Now, we had a 5 lb. bag which meant discovering new ways to enjoy them. (See recipe below).

But, first I wanted to learn more about WHAT makes these onions so special — and usually pricier than “regular” onions. And (as usual) wanted to share this knowledge.

NOW, I know that the Vidalia® Onion is Georgia's Official State Vegetable as ruled by the state legislature in 1990 AND is grown exclusively in a 20-county region in Georgia in a production area defined by state law and by the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

Moses Coleman is credited with “discovering” the sweet Vidalia Onion variety, which were first grown near Vidalia, Georgia in 1931. Coleman found that his onion crop was sweet, not hot and managed to get $3.50/50-pound bag (a big price then). Other GA farmers,unable to get a fair price for produce through the depression years, thought Coleman had found a gold mine. Soon, their farms were also producing the sweet, mild onion.

In the 1940's, the State of Georgia built a Farmer's Market in Vidalia. A small town at the juncture of some of South Georgia's most widely traveled highways. The market had a thriving tourist business; word spread as tourists gave the onions their now-famous name. 

Soon Vidalia Onions were on shelves in local Piggly Wiggly and A & P grocery stores. Through the 1950s and 60s, production grew slow, but steady and was at 600 acres by the mid-1970s. A push was made for Vidalia Onions to be distributed nationwide. Onion festivals became an annual event in Vidalia and nearby Glennville, GA and production grew 10X over the next decade.

Georgia's state legislature passed the “Vidalia Onion Act of 1986” which authorized a trademark for “Vidalia Onions” and defined a 20-county production area. The crop is planted annually September through February with 70,000 plants produced on each acre. Onions are available from late April through mid-November.

In 1990, controlled atmosphere (CA) technology used in the apple industry was adapted for Vidalia Onions. Now, 20,000,000 pounds can be put in CA storage for up to six months, extending the sale of Vidalia onions through the fall and holiday season.
AND, we enjoyed them in this recipe. It was easy and delicious served with chicken (first night) and  then with fish (second night).

Vidalia Onion Casserole
  • 3 or 4 Vidalia onions, peeled, sliced thin and ringed IMG_0326
  • 1/4 to 1/2 C butter
  • 1/4 C sour cream
  • 1 package Ritz crackers, crushed
  • 1 C Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese, grated
In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté onions in butter until tender. Remove from the heat and stir in sour cream.

IMG_0328Spoon half into a greased 1-qt. baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese. Top with remaining onion mixture and crackers.
Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

You're still here??????

Most of you know we live in a semi rural area. Population of our town is only 500.... Accomack County just 30,000.... The sort of place where if you sneeze and the windows are open about 26 folks yell "God Bless Ya'll"... AND they really mean it. I like that.

On Saturday mornings during the nice weather we have a special routine. Breakfast either at home or the Sage Diner, a trip to the Onancock Farmers Market for some fresh veggies, crabs, clams, chicken, beef and pork.  Then off the the Historic Onley Train Station for me, and maybe the Y for Beatrice.

Well this morning in Onancock besides the Farmers Market, they were also holding their annual Sidewalk Sale. Folks setup all over Downtown selling all sorts of stuff. Now keep in mind that just about everyone knows everyone else around here. Six of our conversations this morning starting with "Oh Hi. You're still here?????"  WOW, what a question. AND it was accompanied by quizzical and astonished looks. Most folks around here know our house is on the market, and i figured they also knew we had not sold yet. Which in my mind would be a really good reason why we were still here. I guess that was my mistake. After being asked the same question for the third time, we started counting. How many more times would we be asked "You're still here???"

I guess if you are an overly self conscience person, or if you're into conspiracy theories, this could be a little worrisome. Luckily I'm neither. BUT I did start wondering if that meant they would be sorry to see us go? Would they really miss us? Would they make the 10 hour drive to stop by and see us after we move??? OR were they disappointed we were still here??? Were they trying to get rid of us? Maybe it was something we said??? Did we forget to use our deodorant, brush our teeth?

Now I don't know about you, but great come backs usually hit me well after the time they are needed. How about these comebacks to "You're still here??"

  • "No we're gone".  
  • "No, we are just fragments of your imagination".  
  • "No, we left yesterday, this is just our vapor trail your seeing." 

How about,

  • "Yes we're still here, and we're coming to stay at your house." 
  • "Yes, oh by the way, what time is dinner???" 

Or better yet

  • "Yep we're still here, and we have some friends coming to spend the summer. Would you mind if they parked their RV's in your yard???"
There is some good news though...... Two other houses that are for sale on our street are "under contract". Our realtor says that if they sell at or near the asking price (which is higher than ours) then ours will appraise higher when the new buyers apply for a mortgage. My only question is "We're still here?????"

Oh yea, the final "You're still here????" count was 6. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Friday Funnies

Toothpicks for giants ?

toothpicks (2)toothpicks (1)

SADLY, these trees at Duke Farms, Hillsborough, NJ showed damages from “Sandy” slamming the east coast last Oct. Most likely these will be cut down as others have already been.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Y’All Are the Best

Fellow bloggers are that and more. 

THANKS to all who read a recent post and then checked out a new blog created exclusively to market our Maple St home informally called The Frog & PenguINN. (Update: that blog has since been removed as our home was sold, eventually.)

1-Blog Header Pics1-001
We value your feedback so I updated the blog to address0513 cardinal couple (5) your comments. Several suggested adding interior shots, which were already there, but perhaps overlooked as interior views were accessed at the top of the page. The Welcome Home intro was reworked to note the top tabs.

While there won’t be new posts added to the Maple St blog, existing information will be reworked and photos will be changed, especially when front and rear gardens are in full bloom.

GREAT news on the real estate front this week . . .

No, our home didn’t sell, but 2 other houses listed for sale in the neighborhood are “under contract.” Both include an in-ground pool and outbuildings. One is a Victorian, similar in age to ours; the other is a 1960s? ranch. Our advantage is having more land than either of these properties without a pool. Both homes were listed at the same price and significantly higher than our asking price, which excited our realtor, who said “if both sell close to full asking price then we will have 2 good comps for the appraiser when we get an offer on yours.”

So, we’re going to take the advice of fellow blogger Christer . . “I cross my fingers and hold my thumbs for good luck !”

Spring is making a comeback. St Joseph may be awakening from a long winter nap soon (we can only hope).

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mom's Day and Orchids in NJ

We took a road trip to our native NJ to celebrate Mother's Day with my mother who lives in Plainfield, NJ, my hometown. My mom is quite incredible at 91 years of age and we were thankful and happy to spend this special day with her.

0512 Mothers Day NJ

We took an extra day hoping to visit friends, (Sara and David) who live in Somerville, NJ, after a short trip to nearby Duke Farms in Hillsborough, NJ. What we didn't know is that they were also planning to visit as it's one of their favorite walking places. We received a call while we were on our way there, and amazingly, found out they had just arrived in the parking lot. We had a great time chatting while we walked around. It's great to re-connect with dear friends, we don't see often as we live 6 hours apart. (Sara and I attended high school together, so this long-lasting friendship is extra special.)

James and Doris Duke

Duke Farms is an estate that was established by James Buchanan "Buck" Duke, an American entrepreneur and founder of Duke Power and the American Tobacco Company. Starting in 1893, he began piecing together 40 farm properties for his 2,800 acre estate, planning to reshape Duke Farms in the image of his native North Carolina. All of the estate's hills and nine lakes are man-made. At 3 times the size of Central Park, the estate has 22 miles of trails winding past fountains, lagoons and sculptures; 810 acres of woodlands; and 464 acres of a grassland bird habitat. Duke dug into the flat land to create a terrain of lakes and hills; the buildings were as ornate as the property was big. He also experimented with a hydropower system that later was the basis for what became an electricity empire. When Duke died in 1925, the property and his fortune (estimated in excess of $300 million) went to his only child, 12-year old Doris Duke. She moved it at age 15 and began restoring the estate which became her main residence. Ms.Duke died in 1993. 

The property is now managed by the Doris Duke Foundation (DFF). After a 7-year, $50 million dollar makeover, "Duke Farms" was opened to the public in May 2012 as a wildlife and nature preserve offering daily free access to visitors (except Wednesdays). It's considered one of New Jersey's richest natural habitats with 1,000 acres of forest, meadows and prized orchids. The property includes over 300 species of plants, including 30 endangered species and 230 varieties of birds, such as the bald eagle and the great blue heron and features an "eagle-cam." Invasive plants have been removed from 830 acres, allowing native species to thrive. 

farm barnThe Farm Barn, built in 1906, and used to house horses was remodeled to become the orientation center, using the latest green building standards. It houses a display room with a continuously running video about the Duke family, the farm's early start and wall displays.

The property is maintained exclusively for walkers, bikers, artists and photographers —no wedding photos, film crews or music or dogs are allowed. Cars are restricted to a 400-vehicle parking area; a shuttle runs along a paved trail to drop off and pick up visitors along its route. Anything that's taken in must be taken out. A solar panel farm provides all of the electricity used on the grounds, collected rain and runoff provides non-potable water, marshy trenches act as natural water filters and a 400-plot community garden encourages area residents to grow their own vegetables in what's considered to be one of the largest community gardens in the country.

The old hay barn burned down in 1918. Doris Duke left the high stone walls and set marble sculptures of human figures inside. These are still visible and accessible to the public.

hay barn sculptures

Orchid displays remain a popular feature of Duke Farms.The Tropical Orchid Garden is filled with a wide variety of orchid species from tropical regions along with some orchids that have been cultivated at Duke Farms throughout its history. All the flowers in the collage below were taken in the Orchid Garden. (NOTE: This blog post was done in Mars Edit an off-line editing program for Mac computers; unlike posts done in Microsoft's Live Writer for PCs, the images are not clickable to view larger.)

orchid overview

And closeups of yellow orchids . . .

yellow orchids

Many white orchid varieties . . .

white orchids

More orchids in pink and lavender colors . . .

pink orchids

Various shades or orange and dark reds . . .

orange orchids

red orchids

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day 2013

Happy Mother's Day . . . 

Flowers mother s day

To Everyone — mother, grandmother, mother-in-law, and MORE — you are appreciated and loved by so many — everyday.

Friday, May 10, 2013

25520 Maple St

That’s the name of a new blog devoted to selling The Frog & PenguINN although it doesn’t use that name, as that’s just what Grenville and I have named and refer to our classic Victorian home.

As most of you already know, we are selling our home to relocate closer to family and grandchildren. But, despite burying a statue of St Joseph in the front yard and being listed on many realty sites, showings have been far and few between. We’ve seen some folks stop and pick up a listing sheet this week,  so maybe something will happen soon (we hope).

The new blog  is titled after our street address and can be found at Below is the blog header that was created in Picasa after reading some many online tutorials. Lots of folks also use PicMonkey for collage creation; I tried it too and it’s fun and free (if don’t get the Royale package).

1-Collages3This was my first time creating a blog from scratch and entirely in Blogger as Grenville previously set up The Frog and PenguINN template. I was always apprehensive about playing with templates and not sure why after “experimenting” in Blogger the past week. There were LOTS of issues and some LOTS of frustration, but searching on-line for solutions was a great help. Knowing others had similar issues and reading about their solutions was a learning experience. I even managed to manipulate the HTML coding when Blogger would not “play nice” with inserted photos. (More on that in another post.)

Microsoft’s Live Writer is is the software I use to prepare my Frog & PenguINN blog posts, including this one because it’s an off-line editor. BUT, it’s not available on the Mac platform and I wanted to be able to edit or add to the blog from my Windows and MacBook computers; also Grenville uses a MacBook exclusively. And while working on the 25520 Maple St blog, the settings were to keep it “private” and not available to search engines; apparently doing so prevented Live Writer from “finding” it. These settings were chosen so I could freely before going going “live.”

Unlike this blog, the 25520 Maple St blog does not allow comments. This is because we wanted it to describe the house and its “selling” points vs. getting feedback on pages. Aside from updating or making revisions, we are not planning to add new posts.  There is a link on the sidebar directing anyone interested in the home to contact our realtor. We thought about including an email address, but then would have to refer anyone interested, so why bother.

BUT, we could use YOUR collective help be letting us know what you think of the 25520 Maple St blog layout, information presented, etc. You can either include them on THIS post OR send us a separate email at our address posted on our profiles page.

Please be as honest as possible since this new blog is my first solo one everything is a learning experience, including feedback — THANKS everyone.

Friday Funnies

One size fits all . . .

uniform1Even with people ?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Cod Cakes with Scallions and Herbs

THANKS to all for comments left on Grenville’s recent post  recounting our first date. It was a very memorable date and one which bears annual celebration, which we do as Grenville & Beatrice and also as Pat & Dorothy.

Chicken is a dinner meal favorite at The Frog & PenguINN because of its versatility. Fish is a close second for meals so when I came across this recipe in a Food & Wine Cookbook, Quick from Scratch, last week we added cod fillets to our weekend shopping list and tonight these were the main dinner course.
Cod Cakes with Scallions and Herbs
This recipe was easy once all the chopping prep work was done. Prepare the Lemon Mayonnaise (see below) ahead of time. I used 1 lb. of cod fillet, but this recipe calls for 2 lbs., so if using less, adjust as necessary. Serves 4 as presented here.
  • 2 lbs. cod fillet
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1-1/2 C bread crumbs
  • ¼ C mayonnaise
  • ¼ C lemon juice (best with fresh lemons)
  • 1 egg, beaten to mix
  • ½ red bell pepper, chopped fine
  • 4 scallions, including green tops, chopped
  • 2 TBSP chopped fresh basil (substituted dry)
  • 2 TBSP chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • Pinch cayenne
  1. Put 1 inch of water in large frying pan. Add ¼ tsp of the salt and bring to simmer. Place cop in pan, cover and cook 6 minutes, until just done. Remove cod from water and cool. Pour out water and wipe pan.
  2. Flake cod into a large bowl, removing any bones. Add ¾ C of bread crumbs, mayonnaise, lemon juice, egg, red pepper, scallions, basil, parsley, bail, cayenne and black pepper. Mix well until combined.
  3. Divide cod mixture into 12 portions (fewer if you want larger cod cakes) and shape into patties. Coat them with remaining ¾ C of bread crumbs and pat off excess.
  4. In frying pan, heat about ¼ inch of oil over moderate heat. Working in batches, if needed, fry cakes until golden brown and crisp, about 2 minutes. Turn over and fry on other side, about 2 minutes longer. Drain on paper towels. Serve with lemon mayonnaise.
Lemon Mayonnaise
Stir ingredients together in small bowl and put on cod cakes.
  • ½ C mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper
ENJOY ! (we did)

Sunday, May 5, 2013

A Trip to the BIG CITY

Its not often we are willing to fork over the $17.00 to go 'cross the bay'. What was that???? Why $17.00????? That is the price you pay to spend almost 20 minutes riding on a cause way, over two bridges, and through two tunnels. An experience everyone needs at least once. The Cheasapeke Bay Bridge Tunnel. Its a trip!!!!!!
OK OK OK ... so why did we do this. Last week i found out that Garrison Keillor was doing his live radio show from the Old Dominion University campus in Norfolk (for you out of towers that is pronounced Naw-Fik).
What was that.... did I hear someone say "Who is Garrison 'whats his name' and what is a Prairie Home Companion????? Some sort of live-in help?????
To answer that question i will take the blurb directly from The Prairie Home Companion website.
Program Overview
Garrison Keillor
A Prairie Home Companion started production in 1974. Live every Saturday night from 5—7 p.m. CT, A Prairie Home Companion features comedy sketches, music, and Garrison Keillor's signature monologue, "The News from Lake Wobegon."
Host Bio
Garrison Keillor, Host and Producer
Garrison Keillor was born in 1942 in Anoka, Minnesota, and began his radio career as a freshman at the University of Minnesota, from which he graduated in 1966. He went to work for Minnesota Public Radio in 1969, and on July 6, 1974, he hosted the first broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion in St. Paul. Today, some 4 million listeners on more than 600 public radio stations coast to coast and beyond tune in to the show each week. Keillor has been honored with Grammy, ACE, and George Foster Peabody awards, the National Humanities Medal, and election to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His many books include Lake Wobegon Days,The Book of GuysPilgrims: A Wobegon Romance, and Guy Noir and the Straight Skinny (Viking). He is the host of the daily program The Writer's Almanac and the editor of several anthologies of poetry, most recently,Good Poems: American Places (Viking). In 2006, Keillor played himself in the movie adaptation of his show, a film directed by Robert Altman. He has two grandsons and in 2007, he opened an independent bookstore, Common Good Books, in St. Paul, the city where he and his wife and daughter make their home.
If you need more about this Great American Phenomenon (sounds like a good tag line.... must send it off to GK), just go to The Prairie Home Companion website and click on the different songs and skits from last nights show. Listen to them with your eyes closed!!!!!! THEN think back to when you were a kid..... remember listening to radio shows?????

The Lone Ranger, The Shadow, Amos and Andy. YES YES.... on the radio before that television thing came along. Real live radio actors. They had to work hard to paint a mental picture for you.... Real Live Sound Effects instead of computer generated and ... AND REAL LIVE AUDIENCES. No canned laugh tracks. AND you had to use your imagination.  Come on,,, i know some of you remember......

Back to explanations::: OK so why all the expense and travel (1.5 hours each way from the F&P) to go see someone you may not have heard about??????  Well, May 16 is an anniversary for Beatrice and I. No not the wedding, thats in August. But a special event that set in motion a unique set of circumstances that has had a happy ever after ending. One that just keeps on giving all year a Jelly of the Month Club subscription (Think of the movie "Christmas Vacation").  I'll  tell you all about it next.
Till then, pop over to the The Prairie Home Companion website. Take a listen to the Adventures of Guy Noir. Catch up with the News from Lake Woebegone. Listen to some great music you will not find on regular radio.
While your doing that, I'm going to take the Peach Pie (tonights desert) out of the oven and have a cup of coffee with Beatrice.
Then I'll tell you what happened May 16, 1997. A day that may not live in 'infamy', except in my mind.

For this I say, 'twas a Special Day in May!!!!

NO NO, Don't worry, there is no poetry coming next. Well, at least not from me.....
I told you about the trip 'cross the bay' to see Garrison Keillor do a Live Radio performance of
Garrison Keillor
A Prairie Home Companion and that it was to celebrate an anniversary. But i never said an anniversary of what!!!!!

Back in 1997 i was trudging along as a single parent of two teenage daughters. One in college and one in high school. It was a simpler, slower time back then. A time of partial innocence. Of course that could have been my Seafood diet causing euphoria. A time before social networking removed all human, face to face, hand in hand contact. A time when you were still expected to woo the one you desired in a romantic quest to win her hand.... Ah yes, those were the days. Only thing I was missing was the white stallion and suit of armor.... but i digress as usual.

That January i discovered a web site called 'Web Personals". On a whim i wrote one and sent it out into the cybersphere. Not much happened, so i started reading some of the other posts. I won't add the details here of what ladies were looking for.... lets just say the life of a hermit was looking good. BUT, one post in particular caught my eye. I don't remember the whole thing but there was a line in it that was sort of

"I love to wander around hardware stores". YES.... like many of you guys out there, my ears perked up, my jaw dropped...... Hardware stores!!!!!! Visions of midnight strolls, hand in hand, through a 24 hour Home Depot began running wild in my imagination. Standing together admiring the power saws, having long discussions about the torque of the battery drills, fondling the same framing hammer handle. Be honest guys,,,,,, that's better than visions of sugar plums dancing in your head (a common delusion around Christmas time). I mean really guys, does it get  better than that????? His and Hers nail guns sharing the same compressor.

Before i knew it, I'd hit the SEND key. Oh my God. What had i done? What had i written?? Who had i written it to??? Well maybe she won't answer. Maybe.
But the next morning the answer in my email box. I just stared at it, unopened. Would she be a crazy? Would she have her own tools? Would her hammer be bigger than mine?? With trepidation I opened it and read. OMG, she was normal. She was looking for someone who would carry an ax, would run through a burning building to save her, would re-light her fire!!!! What a break.... all things i knew how to do.

This lead to a three times a day email affair. I like that term affair, it sounds so continental. Over the next three months we continued the e-mails and sort of played 20 questions. She asked me stuff, i asked her stuff. Likes, dislikes. And why bother lieing  about the answers. We may never even meet since our schedules seemed to be in opposite directions. Eventually we decided that we knew each other enough (we had covered family, home, jobs, likes and dislikes, books, movies, plays, music) that we should meet for lunch. You know, the 'Safe Date' where if things go bad you can make an escape. Have to get home to the kids, cat, sick friend, its my night to rearrange my sock drawer, something. The date took about two weeks to set up due to schedules.

FINALLY the date, time, and location was set. We traded phone numbers in case something went wrong and we had to cancel. On a whim (again) i called her the night before the Lunch Date. Up until then, neither of us had actually spoken before. We had never heard the others voice. Neither of us had sent the other one a picture of ourselves. I had thought of wearing a rose behind my ear so she would recognize me, but decided flamboyance might not be the best opening move. At least not on the first date. I mean she might have been faking this whole thing and been closer to normal than she sounded in her e-mails. She could have been stringing me along!!!!!
Father's Day Poster

Somerville Town Hall
SOOOO we met on Friday, May 16, 1997, at high noon. We both showed up packing stacks of pictures of people we had told each other about. Lunch stretched out to 3 hours. Next was a movie....we both liked Robin Williams and Billy Crystal so we saw "Fathers Day".  Yes, there was some hand holding. I forget who started it. One of the nice things about where she lived was their Friday Evening Concert series at the Town Hall Green. That night just happened to be a Jazz group. Did i mention we both like jazz??? So we decided to go there next. BUT first she had to stop home. I don't remember the reason, but it was something in the basement. Once there she went down to take care of this thing. I figured everything was going well since she let me see where she lived, and let me inside, and left me alone upstairs. Did i mention that she was just as much fun in real life as in cyber land????? Well she was. Anyhow, she called me to come down to the basement. By this time my mind was swirling. Finding someone i liked and that seemed to like me. Who liked the same things I did. Was this real. I was in a daze. The next thing i knew i was in the basement getting kissed. YES, getting kissed. And not just a little peck on the cheek either. A serious, full fledged kiss. AND I WAS KISSING BACK!!!!! AND I LIKED IT...... A LOT!!!!!

Beachwood Marina
Well this is getting long and i'm sure you see where it is going.... and you already know the ending, so i'll condense a little. The concert was good. That led to dinner, which led back to her place, which led to talking, and..... well you know. First date lasted 14 hours. I guess she liked me.
I had to work the next day but invited her to go sailing with me on Sunday. Unfortunately the weather turned nasty and that is not the time to take someone sailing for the first time. SOOO a bottle of wine and some snacks at the dock were the order of the day. Then dinner, and take her home. Did i mention that we lived about an hour and a half apart???? Wine, food, and driving can really wear you out, so i stayed over. Second date lasted 19 hours. Now i knew she really liked me.
Third date was a weekend in Providence RI for my older daughters first graduation. Sixteen years later here i am retelling the story. And loving it more each time. AND it all started on May 16, 1997. That is the reason for the celebration.