November 26, 2020
A Thanksgiving gift
Here are some photos from our Thanksgiving. Alison and I headed out to my mom's house in the style and comfort of my dad's convertible. We walked around the lake in her neighborhood, enjoying the glorious weather. Ian and two of his best friends spent the day hiking in Zion National Park, while my sister Rachel and her family celebrated at home. We had two feasts, one in the late afternoon at my mom's house and another in the early evening at Cam and Nancy's house, the first in their new home. We were joined by Nancy's parents and brother, and spent all of our time (save for the meal itself) in the garage, with plenty of air circulation. Alison's dad, pictured last here, spent the day with his son Tony and his family.
From the archive
First, we have Nancy, dressed up for Halloween as the mayor from the TV show Schitt's Creek. You can't see it here, but she was also sporting an impressive beer belly. Next, we have Ian Johnson, our neighbor in Lexington. He's been coming to our home each morning to have Alison oversee his schoolwork. He's an adorable, funny kid. Next, we have my mom, dressed in her Notre Dame finest, to cheer on the Fighting Irish at a recent football game. Lastly, we have our very good friend Beth. She joined us in Lexington for the day recently, at which time Alison presented her with a quilt she had made for her.
Here are three of my favorites of late. First, When the Saints Go Marching In, performed by The Preservation Hall Jazz Band and special guests including Paul McCartney, Elvis Costello and Dave Matthews, among others. McCartney plays an absolutely lousy trumpet, but that's part of the charm of this performance. Second, we have That Girl Is You, performed by Dave Matthews and Preservation Hall. Matthews performs a terrific tune, and is a hoot to boot. Lastly, we have This Train Is Bound For Glory, an infectious rendition of this classic tune by Mumford and Sons and The Old Crow Medicine Show. Check them all out. You won't be disappointed!
March 28th, 2020
Legos and fabric
While Alison has been spending her free time lovingly fondling her beloved scraps of fabric (see photo above), I have spent mine working on a 2000-piece Lego model of the NASA Apollo Saturn V rocket (see photos below). One is never too old for Legos!
My partner in Lego Crime is Dave Norman, Nancy's dad. I sent him the rocket, he put it together and admired it on the mantelpiece for a month or so, and then disassembled it and sent it to me. He's now working on the NASA Apollo Lunar Lander. So many Legos; so little time!
Matt and Ginger sitting in a tree...
2020 New Year's Card
Our very favorite Abby
My travels around YouTube continue, as I search for new and interesting music. A couple of months back, I discovered a group named Scary Pockets. Their angle is that they perform covers of popular songs with a distinctly funky feel. I find their music infectious! Here are a few of my favorites:
Photos: Day 2
Day 2 featured a hike that Alison did with two girlfriends, acquaintances of my Uncle Bert, that she met last summer. Here are some pictures from the day.
Photos: Day 3
Day 3 started with breakfast at Jordan's Restaurant, a local favorite. They feature "all things blueberry," which provide plenty of terrific breakfast options. Later in the day, Alison and I were joined by my niece Becca for a stroll along one of the carriage paths in Acadia. These carriage paths, a very popular destination at Acadia, were built between 1919 and 1931 and funded by John D. Rockefeller Jr. They represent his (very impressive) intent of keeping Mount Desert Island free from motorized vehicles. It's amazing what one can do with virtually unlimited funds.
Photos: Day 4
My stroll along the carriage path the previous day turned out much longer than I anticipated (I'll spare you that embarrassing story) and so my own Day 4 was spent entirely at our rental home, reading, resting, napping and recuperating. There are worse ways to spend a day of vacation! While I did that, Alison, Liesl and Becca went for another hike, this one with some more elevation to it and offering a significantly better view from the top. You'll find some pictures below.
May 8th, 2019
Zion National Park, Utah
Zion National Park
Humans first began to inhabit the region now known as Zion National Park around 8,000 years ago, with the Mormons showing up in the late 1850s. In 1909, President William Howard Taft named the area Mukuntuweap National Monument in order to protect the canyon from development. In 1918, upon the creation of the National Park Service, the acting director of this new agency proposed renaming the area as Zion National Monument because:
"The name change played to a prevalent bias of the time. Many believed that Spanish and Indian names would deter visitors who, if they could not pronounce the name of a place, might not bother to visit it. The new name, Zion, had greater appeal to an ethnocentric audience."
Finally, in 1919, the monument was elevated in status to Zion National Park by President Woodrow Wilson.
Zion is the fourth most-visited national park in the United States. What are the first three (in order, of course)?
Here are some of the photos we took today.
May 6th-7th, 2019
On Day 6, we checked out of the Moab Valley Inn and headed southwest for Torrey, Utah. Our destination for the night was the Skyridge Inn, an award-winning bed and breakfast located near the entrance to Capitol Reef National Park. After checking in, and with an ounce of energy remaining, we headed off to Sunset Point. Situated right near the entrance to the park, Sunset Point is a wonderful location from which to watch the sun set.
In a stroke of luck, the best room at the Skyridge Inn was available for the evening, so the proprietor upgraded us to that room at no cost to us. With our own personal hot tub outside the room, it was a beautiful spot to take in the unspoiled landscape.
On Day 7, we reluctantly left our master suite at the Skyridge Inn, toured Capitol Reef National Park and then down-scaled a bit to the T Lazy 7 Ranch cabins in Torrey, Utah. There is nothing much to speak of in Torrey — and I mean nothing — but it is conveniently located between Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks, our destinations for the next few days.
Chris Barber is an English bandleader and trombonist. He's been performing since the 1950s, right up through at least 2017. For the record, Alison cannot stand his music, or any jazz for that matter. I, however, love it and can easily listen to it all day.
Here are some of the photos we took yesterday and today.
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