2018 Life Logs, Day 21—Happy Birthday, Sam

2018 Life Logs, Day 21—Happy Birthday, Sam
Date: Sunday, January 21, 2018
Weather: Sunny; High 50, Low 29 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

Sam turned eleven today and the theme was drums. This year Sam is playing drums in the school band and this morning Heather and Jed unveiled a new drum set-up in the basement. Then this afternoon, my present to Sam to was to take the whole family to New Bedford to see Yamato perform at the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center. Yamato is a percussion ensemble from Japan. They take the ancient art of taiko drumming into the 21st century. We had read that taiko drumming is a physical, as well as a musical experience, but we didn’t really know what to expect. There are nine drummers, some of who also play other classical Japanese instruments with a modern twist. They move and play the drums together as if they are one. Think sitting cross-legged on a bench suspended in the air and leaning back and coming up like doing sit-ups while playing huge drums in front of you, and then leaping in the air, down to the stage to start playing a new set of drums and not missing a beat. For two hours, no words are spoken, but they communicate completely through body language. In addition to be incredibly talented whether playing tiny hand cymbals or gigantic drums, they are funny and they include audience participation—something for everybody. All of us really enjoyed the show, but at intermission we were a bit sad to find out the Patriots were losing to the Jaguars. Then at the end of the show we checked our phones and found out the Patriots pulled out another win. So, we were doubly happy—great show and the Patriots will be in the Superbowl. Woohoo!!! I picked out a sports pub in a bit of a shady part of town for dinner (didn’t understand the location when I chose it), but it turned out to be a great place to watch the Vikings-Eagles first half while enjoying good food with a Portuguese twist. If you saw the opening of this game, you were probably as overwhelmed as we were. A retired Navy officer singing the Star-spangled Banner was spectacular with the back drop of an American flag big enough to cover the entire football field. And then a bald eagle soared across the field. Maybe this happens all the time, but for those of us who watch very little football, this game opener was dramatic. Minnesota got off to a great start, but that was it for them. It will be the Patriots against the Eagles in Super Bowl LII. And to top it all off, it was sunny and warm today with a high temp hitting 50 degrees F, so I went for a two mile walk by the ocean this morning. It was a good day in this part of New England.

2018 Life Logs, Day 20—Sam’s Birthday Weekend

2018 Life Logs, Day 20—Sam’s Birthday Weekend
Date: Saturday, January 20, 2018
Weather: Warmer with South Winds; High 45, Low 31 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

Oh, my. They grow up so quickly. My oldest grandchild, Samuel Ellery Goldstone, will be 11 years old tomorrow. I have a hard time believing it has been 11 years since Mark and I flew home from New Zealand for his birth. But it has been 11 years and Sam is growing up. I went to Heather’s late morning to help with some birthday projects. Sam’s party with friends was tonight, but he will get his birthday present from mom and dad tomorrow. He doesn’t know it, but he is getting a full drum set. So today the basement needed to be cleaned out to make a space for drumming. I made a run to take things to the swap shop at the city dump and to take cardboard to be recycled. Jed had to drive off Cape to get the drum set and then he had to go to work in Woods Hole, so I returned to help Heather clean out the basement. I had a dresser that belonged to my family stored in the basement room where the drums need to go, so I got that in my car, along with boxes and bags of more things that need to be donated. By 3 pm, we had the basement looking better than I have seen it for a long time, so I took off with my carload to go to the donation bins and then home to unload. It was then time to return to pick up Jonah and Ollie to take them to dinner. Sam’s request for a party this year was to have four good friends come for dinner out and then an overnight. He requested that little brothers not be a part of the dinner and not be in the same for the overnight. Fair enough. So, I was to take Jonah and Ollie to dinner. Sam requested that he and his friends go to the British Beer Company and yesterday he told me he thought I should take Jonah and Ollie to the same place, just not the same table. Growing pains. You love your brothers and want them close by, just not too close! Fair enough. Jonah and Ollie agreed with the plan, so we all went to dinner at the same place and had two completely separate experiences. You can make reservations for six or more, but not for three. So, when we arrived, Sam and crew had a table in the main restaurant, but it was going to be a thirty-minute wait for Jonah, Ollie, and myself unless we wanted to eat at one of the high tables in the bar. At first Jonah didn’t like that idea, but when we went in and sat at the table to wait, he decided it was a great idea. We could watch all the games on the tv’s and we had quite an interesting dinner conversation about football. Even Ollie was quite knowledgeable about football teams and we all discussed who we like and who we don’t and why. It was a fun evening and after a quick run on the beach (across the street from the BBC), we returned home for the opening of presents and birthday cake. We all got a kick out of one of Sam’s presents, a book called A Manual to Manhood, touting how to cook a perfect steak, change a tire, impress a girl, and 97 other skills you need to survive! Like his dad, angel food cake is Sam’s favorite, drizzled with chocolate, so that was the birthday fare.

Tomorrow, Sam’s actual birthday, will be a continuation of the festivities. My gift this year is an ‘experience’—tickets for all of us to attend a performance of a Japanese drumming troupe called Yamato. After Sam’s friend leave tomorrow morning, he will get his drum set gift and then mid-afternoon we will head off-Cape for the Yamato drumming experience.

Amidst the birthday celebrations, I watch with disbelief at our government shutdown. I support the Democrats in their insistence on a clear and free deal for DACA, but I just don’t understand why this couldn’t have been settled before now. And I applaud those who turned out for the women’s marches around the country today. My heart was with all those who gathered in Cambridge. I stayed up very late last night watching what was happening in the Senate chamber leading up to the midnight shutdown of the government. You could see, but not hear, what was happening on the floor, and I could see clearly that our Massachusetts senator, Elizabeth Warren, was in the fight to the end. So proud to have such a strong female senator representing Massachusetts. And Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Maggie Hassen of New Hampshire were right there with Elizabeth Warren.

2018 Life Logs, Day 19—Swedish Dinner with Friends

2018 Life Logs, Day 19—Swedish Dinner with Friends
Date: Friday, January 19, 2018
Weather: Another Sunny Day; High 34, Low 30 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

Our Newcomers Dining In group met tonight at the home of Karen and Peter Baranowski. Karen inherited her Swedish cooking expertise from her grandmother and we were the lucky recipients of a wonderful dinner tonight. We started with appetizers provided by Bruce and Jane Woodin and Terry and Olivia White. Bruce and Jane brought a fabulous baked brie with blueberries in a golden crust. We pretended the blueberries were lingonberries to make it Swedish. Olivia and Terry brought baked cheddar cheese and olive balls, not Swedish but delicious. Then Karen and Peter served the main meal of koldomar (Swedish meat stuffed cabbage), köttbullar (Swedish meatballs) in a wonderful yogurt and fresh chives cream, raggmunk (Swedish potato pancakes) with more of the yogurt and chives cream, and fresh applesauce brought by Midge and Bill Frieswyk. The dinner was spectacular. I provided the Swedish Tea Ring as dessert. I think we all left stuffed and happy. We won’t meet again until late March, but I will look forward to the friendship and culinary delights.

2018 Life Logs, Day 18—Powerful Movies

2018 Life Logs, Day 18—Powerful Movies
Date: Thursday, January 18, 2018
Weather: Sunny Day; High 36, Low 22 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

Wow! While in Nashville, I went to see The Darkest Hour. What a powerful film. But today I went to see The Post and found it equally powerful. If you are not familiar with this movie, it is about the role of the Washington Post in publishing The Pentagon Papers in 1971. The New York Times first attempted to publish but were stopped when a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order. The Times complied, but then the Washington Post stepped in and was able to get the job done. Nixon tried once more to stop this, but the Supreme Court of the United states upheld the right of the newspapers. Washington Post owner and publisher, Katharine “Kay” Graham, is played by Meryl Streep, and Washington Post executive editor Ben Bradlee is played by Tom Hanks, both giving strong performances. If you haven’t seen the film, you might not want to read the final paragraph of this blog. After you go to the movie, which you should, you can come back and read the next paragraph. After the movie, I went out to dinner with the Women in Newcomers group and that summarizes my day. Now back to The Post.
At the end of the film, Ben Bradlee quotes part of the opinion of Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black on this case and I think that in these times those words were the truly award-winning part of this film, “In the First Amendment the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors. The Government’s power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the Government. The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people. Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government.”

2018 Life Logs, Day 17—Learning New Things and Planning Away

2018 Life Logs, Day 17—Learning New Things and Planning Away
Date: Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Weather: Overnight Snow, Rainy Morning; High 37, Low 21 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

My day started with an email from my son encouraging me to dig those plastic baggies out of the trash because throwing them away is the worst possible scenario for the planet. My purpose in throwing them away was to save myself, but, of course, the planet is more important. So, I dug them out and stored them away far from my kitchen. Justin, thanks for the reminder.

I then went to the gym to find that I was the only person there for this morning’s Tabata class. I guess the overnight snow scared people away, although by the time I went to the gym the snow had turned to rain. Being the only participant, I relieved the instructor of her duties and headed home to exercise on my own. Then I spent the rest of the day listening and watching online health series and doing a little planning for the next couple of months. I continue to learn all sorts of new things on the health front, and there are so many things one could attend here in Falmouth and the immediate area that you have to look carefully at the offerings and make your picks. And I am still trying to figure out if and when I will travel to Puerto Rico to visit with Justin and family and meet up with Windbird. Windbird is still in the Bahamas and has to make her way south to the Turks and Caicos and then on to the Dominican Republic before heading across to Puerto Rico. That route is called the ‘Prickly Path’ and traversing it totally depends on the weather. It is now looking like early to mid-March, rather than late February, might be the right time for that trip. But it could end up being mid to late March. I need to check in with Justin and Jo on the change in timing and then just wait and see.

2018 Life Logs, Day 16—Time for Action

2018 Life Logs, Day 16—Time for Action
Date: Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Weather: Sunny; High 35, Low 29 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

There are lots of things that are just not normal in our lives these days, but this afternoon when I was reminded of one devastating statistic, I was shaken. Did you know that we have lost 50 per cent of all wildlife on our planet in just the last 42 years? Why? Probably due to toxic chemicals in our environment. We are literally killing ourselves, and we are doing nothing about it. It is time for action. We can’t solve the big issues, there are things we can do immediately. Vote with your money. Buy only organic. That will mean that you are not buying foods laden with chemicals and not buying GMOs, genetically modified organics (foods). This will immediately be better for you and better for the environment. Get rid of all BPA’s (plastics) in your world—no more plastic water bottles, no more Styrofoam cups from Dunkin’ Donuts with plastic lids that drip BPS’s. No more Saran Wrap, plastic food containers, or Ziploc baggies. I threw all of mine in the trash tonight. Very hard to do, but very necessary.