Saturday, April 14, 2012

In Memory....

Brutus passed away the last week of March 2012. Come to find out Brutus had an enlarged heart...which is common in his breed to some extent similar to bad hips in large dogs.   It came as a major shock since Brutus showed no symptoms and appeared to be very healthy and happy up to the Monday evening when he first started showing very minute signs of stress.    He died Tuesday morning in his family's arms, at the doctors.

The next weekend the kids came home. It was a very sad weekend.  

Brutus was a wonderful friend and companion.  He was much loved by his family.  

He was a remarkable dog.  He never complained, never bit, never said a word.  He always went along with whatever dumb idea his family came up with (photo is case in point).  

Brutus was beloved of everyone.  He will be missed.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Annual Easter Egg Contest 2012: The Contestants

EggCycle Built for Two (this came with music)


Angry Eggs

Blue Egg Group

Jabba the Egg

Brown Eggcluse Spider

pEGGasus (this came with a light show
that was stolen by Eggcycle Built for Two )


M EGG a Millions (with last weeks winning numbers)

PAIN IN THE EGG (like this contest i think)

16 and PR'EGGnant

Gotyegg (this came with a music tract and video)

Double E Eggs (signed by the artist..look carefully on right double E)

Easter Egg Contest 2012: The betting..

This year as the judges were busy judging ...... the contestants were busy wagering on BEST OVERALL THEME and FIRST PLACE. Everyone had to bet on both.. two bucks a shot.

The Judges (2012)

Our favorite judges ......
there were some rules this year.... not everyone should win an award... AND no throwing candy at the winners. (My sister made sure to remove all the free standing dishes of candy to prevent certain contestants from displaying any examples of poor sportsmanship. Apparently last year things got kind of wild. I wasn't there of course which is a good thing probably in case I lost).

Annual Easter Egg Contest 2012: The Winners! (cont)

And the winners are......

3RD PLACE: 16 & Pr'eggers! (Tommy)
2ND PLACE: Double E's eggs (Billy) (signed by the artist)
FIRST PLACE: Jabba the Egg

Oh.. late post.. MOST LAME: The GottyEgg (Megan)

The judges tell us it was a tough decision between PAIN IN THE EGG and THE GOTTYEGG. PAIN IN THE EGG had points taken off because the SCAR which was a pretty good effort. Thus Mike's egg(er Pain in the Egg) was disqualified as truly lame.

Annual Easter Egg Contest 2012: THE WINNERS! (cont.)

The Lamest: GottyEggs (Megan)

Judges Choice: P'Eggasis (Jim)

Most Artistic: Bicycle Built For Two (Le Roy)

Best Theme: M'egg A Million (Shannon)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Annual Easter Egg Contest 2010

The competition was fierce this year. We had a new set of judges since everyone complained about last years judges. Last year, the neighbors judged, but they brought over their kids who also judged. Unfortunately the children were easily swayed by props and candy and seemed to get stuck on the first row. We think it was because they were too short to see accross the table or something.

Over the course of the day my sister was approached by the family that judged last year. They wanted to participate this year. Things got tense as the hour approached and she had to field complaints from contestants who complained bitterly about the fact that kids wouldn't get their egg and so forth. As the day progressed things looked grim. The contestants perservered with their ideas not sure whether the contest would be fair. My sister blithely bypassed the neighbors in favor of her friend Dreama, Dreama's sister Faye, and Dreama's husband Al. Dreama and gang agreed to the judging, knowing what a competitive and surly crowd we could be. She and her fam agreed to the judging thinking that it was ok because we were going to go out to see a favourite band playing at a local bar that night, and they liked what Laura was making for dinner.

The Winners!

AL, DREAMA, FAYE were incredible, and serious! That's Jim in the background. Just
ignore him! He thought that would help his chances for winning, EVEN THOUGH NO ONE
KNEW WHO MADE WHAT EGG. It was all very hush hush.


We should explain that the reason Brutus is a Judge, and there is an award: Brutus' choice winner, is because when he was lifted up to the table, that's the one he tried to eat (almost immediately). One thing Brutus knows is opportunity.

THE CONTESTANTS (in no particular order BUT MINE FIRST!)

"the Emperor Who Had No Clothes"

"Fried Eggs"

"Fr 'egg'enstein"

"Egg Monkey"

"Na Egg Vi"

"Egg Petting Zoo"
Hey! How did Na Egg Vi's head get in there?

"Egg Pig"

"Egg The Scream"

"WyEgg Earp"


"Eggs in a Basket"

"EggstraTerrestrial Landing"


"Bombshell McEgg"

And the winners were:

Best in Show - Laura (Fried eggs)
First Place - Laura (Fried eggs)
2nd Place - Jim Eggstraterrestial Landing)
3rd Place - Kelly (Eggs in a Basket)
Most Artistic - Mom's Scream )
Best Animal - Matt's (Egg Petting Zoo)
Most Original – Wyegg Earp Harry's
Lamest - Billy's (Egg Monkey)
Most Creative - Na Egg VI, Eggo, Emporer ( Jenny, Mike, Anne)
Best Break Out - Shannon (Eggstraterrestrial)
Best Theme – Bryan's (Fr'egg'enstein)
Brutus's Choice - Megan (pig)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Spring Break

Harry and I had been talking about his plans for Spring Break. He was going to spend the week at home just chillin'. This was actually a couple of weeks ago as his school had an early spring break, middle of March actually.

So, Harry calls me at 2pm on Friday the day he was due to come home. I was at work. He calls to tell me when he was coming home,around 6:30pm, and was there any food in the house. Fortunately I had gone grocery shopping and bought the cereal i thought he was eating and milk and orange juice and a roast and i took some things out of the freezer. I said yes we had food.

So that evening Harry gets home and he asks if I went to the grocery store and commented that he saw I had eggs and he could probably live on those. After some questioning I discovered the root cause of all the concern. I did not have food that he could eat right out of the package and he wanted something he did not have to fix. Feeling sorry for the poor kid, I made some spaghetti.

Conclusion: Saturday / Sunday I cooked a roast (for snacking), made a meatloaf (and potatoes) and baked a chicken so that he would have some food for the next week while he was at home. I think that will probably last through Wednesday.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Of camels and men

We went to the zoo one time in February. It must have been early February. There was snow on the ground. It was dry and cold and in the low 20's, but was a really nice sunny day. We rode the Zoo Tram while there because John had trouble walking.

Most of the animals were inside. The camels, to our surprise, were out in the pasture. There was a male with two females. They were up by the gate where they go back in to the sheds. The tour guide told us that they were let out into the pasture daily for grazing but were returned to the shed and pen yard at 5pm every day in the cold weather. It was about 3 pm in the afternoon and the male had the two females corralled up near the gate. The male was behind them, keeping them from going out into the pasture to graze. The females stood their patiently,chewing cud or whatever they do.

Every day, the guide explained, the male camel herded the females up to the gates. The male repeated this at the same time every afternoon to wait to be let in to the sheds. Her comment was that he was rather bossy with the females. It was always early afternoon and he was consistent.

I think of this behavior often because it reminds me of the sort of thing that I see men do all the time with women. It can be protective and meant to be helpful but still it looks like herding. I seem to notice many more examples of this these days now that I don't live with them. And now, when I do see it happen, the image of the camels comes to mind. It is funny how these characteristics have transmuted through the animal kingdom. I really like men but that was one of their more irritating characteristics. I don't miss it (I guess).

Monday, March 15, 2010


Last night after my exercise class I used the hot tub at the gym and I met Joan. Joan is 48, and single, and lives with her mother. Joan was from a smallish town in central Ohio. The way she got around to introducing herself was a different, but she wasn't from around here. What she told me was that she had spent 28 years in this little town, and she moved this year, and she missed all her friends.

As we talked, I am thinking WOW, She reminded me of a character out of a novel, or perhaps I could write her into a novel or write about her and make it a novel!

I have never actually met a single person who lived with their mother past say 30. I thought that only happened in fiction novels or movies (creepy guys like Norman Bates, or again usually creepy guys who keep their mom in the freezer, or desiccated in a closet for 10 years to collect on her social security).Single people in novels, on TV or in movies who live with their mothers are never, in my memory, portrayed as healthy, normal people, but Joan seemed pretty cool and I liked her.

Her mom was 87, and they moved here to be closer to her brother. Maybe she needed more help with her mom, I wasn't sure. From Joan's description, her mom was in good enough shape to come to the gym, she just tires easily. I couldn't tell if Joan worked, and I did not ask. For that matter,Maybe Joan has been married and I just have an overactive imagination.

I don't remember the details but Joan asked me if I was from around here, which I
was. Then she asked if I grew up here which I hadn't. When she mentioned she
was from Ohio we had lots to talk about.
Before all this started I had pre-arranged to meet a friend (who happened to be male) in the hot tub. I talked this guy into getting a membership at the RAC, because he had been complaining about his weight and exercising. He was from the area and had lived here all his life except to serve in the army and traveling for work. I had barely said hello to my friend before I started talking to Joan. This friend made no motion to talk to Joan and turned away several times and his body language was pretty clear that he did not want to participate and had no interest in meeting her.

Joan started to tell me what activities she had gotten involved in. They all sounded good and I was encouraging. Joan asked me if it was hard to meet people here. I said yes, you have to be aggressive She kept taking side long looks at this guy, like she was considering addressing him and including him into the conversation. I was just rolling on the inside and trying very hard not to wisecrack. I so wanted to say to Joan... see they are all like him.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday, March 5, 2010

Xplod explosion

When I moved to Rochester I wanted a stereo to play cd's, tapes, and the radio. I wanted something with GREAT sound. I used some of those electronic buyers guide websites like CNET and read reviews and finally decided on the Sony XPLOD CD/CASSETTE BOOMBOX with AM/FM Radio in BLACK with all these great features:

"Take this boombox to the beach with you and lay out on the sand with some of your favorite songs.

Product Features
Built-in CD player and cassette deck let you enjoy all of your favorite tunes
CD functions include track programming, shuffle, repeat, high-speed dubbing and CD synchro record
Digital AM/FM radio tuner with 30 presets (10 AM, 20 FM)
Xplod power drive design for improved bass quality
2 built-in high-power 10W speakers with a built-in 100mm power-drive subwoofer
4-preset graphic equalizer
Digital display for easy menu navigation
Frequency response: 20Hz - 20kHz
Remote included"

I read the product reviews from average guys. I read a review from a guy who had the box in an auto body workshop garage and really liked the quality of the sound over the noises at work in the shop. I thought, wow, that is great. I'll take one!

And I loved it until one day when a friend pointed out that at our mature age, in the stage of our lives where we are downsizing, kids leaving home, minimizing our footprint, you know, mature urban sophistication, condo living, all that; we want something sleek and powerful and cool with great sound and neat features. Yes, cool things in small packages that fit our minimalist, live it light lifestyle. Ok well he didn't say it quite like that. What he said was "What the hell IS that? Its so big, you don't have room for it anyplace!" And all his stuff by the way, IS all really cool and black.

Next I went to my mom's place and I looked at her boom box ..She lives in a neat and tidy two bedroom condominium. Her boom box is small and sleek and silver and sits on a shelf in her dining room. It must be true. Everybody does have small sleek and cool.

And then I felt bad. My boom box is big and chunky and yes it was hard to find a spot in the kitchen to set it. (I finally got an old table in the corner.) And, it is kind of awkward looking with the big red disk in the center that lights up when you hit the BIG RED XPLOD POWER DRIVE BASS SUBWOOFER BUTTON or whatever the heck that is that pulsates red light with the bass beat.

In reality what I had done was bought something that would appeal to an adolescent boy or so my friend pointed it out. What he said though was, "that's something
a kid in high school would like." Apparently, a lot of my personal style choices go this way. Yes, maybe it looks like a teenage boy version of the big fluffy animal purse...a chunky black boom box on steroids.

I see now that the fact that I did pick this style MAKES PERFECT SENSE.

I only ever had a son. All the toys that I bought, the family movies that we watched (I did sneak in a few interesting films BUT), the games we played, and very often the music I listened to are influenced by the fact that I spent a great deal of time hanging out with my son and his friends. OK... maybe if I had waited till my son was off in college for a few years it would have worn off.

Still... I am not going to replace the one i've got and it glares at me YES ITS ON STEROIDS every morning and is still a joke with some of my friends. Well, one in particular.

This is my "sound center" at home...yes, next to the refridgerater. It is a multi-use station that also houses my recycling center and office supplies.
I was at a local neighborhood bar (outside, on a corner and very local er I said that) in Buscerias, Mexico and here was MY BOX... a slightly different model but still banging out the tunes with the heavy bass throbbing!

And my friend saw the same model in the health office at a local Middle School and sent me this pic: So now I am thinking, if I am lucky, and I hope to be.. I may start collecting pictures of xplod's all over the world!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Keeping Things Whole

In a field
I am the absence
of field.
This is
always the case.
Wherever I am
I am what is missing.

When I walk
I part the air
and always
the air moves in
to fill the spaces
where my body's been.

We all have reasons
for moving.
I move
to keep things whole.

-- Mark Strand