2017 Life Logs, Day 106: Happy Easter with Circus Xtreme

2017 Life Logs, Day 106: Happy Easter with Circus Xtreme
Date: Sunday, April 16, 2017
Weather: Foggy AM, Sunny PM; 83 degrees in Worcester
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

We had a fabulous spring celebration today starting with an Easter egg hunt and then traveling north to Worcester, Massachusetts, to see the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus Xtreme. It takes almost two hours to get to Worcester, but it was worth it. The circus was spectacular. Our ringmaster today was a female and actually she was just hired in January as Ringling Brothers first ever female ringmaster in their 146-year history. We saw high wire acts, camels, tigers, a human shot out of a cannon, trained poodles, tons of clowns, and swirling and whirling humans on the floor and hanging from the rafters. Sam loved the dogs, Ollie loved the tigers, and Jonah loved an aerial ballet act with glow-in-the-dark costumes. There was no way to adequately capture that one in a photograph, but hopefully I got video. And then the finale was over the top with trampoline artists, break dancers, and crazy BMX bikers. But again, no photos, as the action was too fast and furious. I think we all loved the finale and it made me sad to think that at the end of May, the circus will be no more. I’m so glad we went today. I thought of Justin, Jo, Ziggy, and Coco many times during the show. I wished they could have been there as I know they would have loved it as well. And we ended the evening with dinner at a neighborhood Italian restaurant that was equally spectacular. So, it was a Happy Easter here.

Tomorrow morning Heather, Jed, and boys are off to Washington, DC, for spring break week and tomorrow afternoon I head to Boston to fly to the Bahamas. I will post a log tomorrow night, but once I am in the Bahamas, I will not be able to post logs every night. I’ll write them and then post them when we have internet. So no worries if there is no log.

2017 Life Logs, Day 76: Happy St. Patrick’s Day

2017 Life Logs, Day 76: Happy St. Patrick’s Day
Date: Friday, March 17, 2017
Weather: Continued Cold; High 44, Low 25 degrees F
Location: At Home in the The Studio, Falmouth, MA

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! It was just a tad warmer here today which was definitely welcomed. I spent most of the day exploring housing possibilities but found no perfect place. That search will continue. I also picked Ollie up early from school to bring him home with me to play for a bit. At the end of the afternoon we ended up back at his house where I had dinner with the boys while Heather headed to the elementary school to set up for a Friday night dance sponsored by the PTO. After dinner, I delivered the boys there and hopefully they had a fun evening. Tomorrow Jed returns from his week in Baltimore and the whole family heads to Wellfleet on the Outer Cape where Heather gives a presentation and the family spends the night. I will stay here to start the process of getting myself back into some sort of normal pattern after being away for so many weeks.

2017 Life Logs, Day 43: Free and Easy Sunday

2017 Life Logs, Day 43: Free and Easy Sunday
Date: Sunday, February 12, 2017
Weather: Partly Cloudy with Afternoon Showers; Daytime 80’s, Nighttime 70’s F
Location: At Home with JJZ&C, Finca Maravilla, Aguada, PR

Today was a free and easy Sunday. We had a Skype video call with the Goldstones and looked out their front window at all the snow. It was pretty, but it made me think that I definitely picked the right time to be here in Puerto Rico. After the Skype call, we headed down the mountain to Rincon to the Sunday Farmer’s Market01-ziggy-and-coco-at-the-farmers-market and then returned home for a quiet afternoon. I had planned to take Ziggy and Coco to the beach but it started raining. The rain didn’t last long, but the rain seemed to dampen the spirit for wanting to go to the beach. Ziggy and Coco just wanted down time at home. So I relaxed into that and enjoyed the afternoon. I took photos of the kids with some of their pets03-coco-and-zia02-coco-and-annabelle08-ziggy-with-alfie11-ziggy-and-mango and we ended the evening with an after-dinner marshmallow roast13-roasting-marshmallows-over-the-fire-pit over a fire pit. We needed to get rid of a lot of cardboard boxes, and the fire pit was the perfect solution.12-the-fire-pit Justin is still hanging in there—not feeling great, but slowly improving. And that is a good thing!

2017 Life Logs, Day 39: Having Fun

2017 Life Logs, Day 39: Having Fun
Date: Wednesday, February 8, 2017
Weather: Mix of Clouds and Sunshine; Temp in the 80’s F
Location: At Home with JJZ&C, Finca Maravilla, Aguada, PR

I did it again. It’s late and I’m too exhausted to write a proper log. But that’s because I’m having so much fun with Justin, Jo, Ziggy, and Coco. And the fun is just doing the everyday, normal things. It is the little things that are so special. Last night I walked by the light of the moon with Justin and kids to go put the duck in his cage on the lower part of the property. This morning I went shopping at Home Depot to buy a few things needed to work on the TO DO list on the refrigerator. I took Justin to work at the ‘orange house’ and picked him to bring him home for lunch, back to work again, and picked him up this evening. The ‘orange house’ is the rental they were living in until they could move into their new home, referred to as the ‘white house.’ You can figure out the exterior colors of the houses. They have the rental until April, so Justin is still working in his office there. And taking him back and forth gave me an opportunity to help move some things from there to here. They still have a lot of things there, so I’ll be working on this the whole time I am here. And this evening when the kids came home from school, I walked around the property with them as they were trying to find the perfect place for ‘personal’ gardens. Ziggy wants to plant vegetables and no one can convince them that they could just have one garden together.01-ziggy-and-coco And Coco entertained us with her modeling skills. Her first outfit was priceless. She put on a t-shirt that belonged to Justin when he was four that says, “Wild, Wonderful West Virginia.” The t-shirt mostly covered her frilly pink skirt. But it was the accessories that were so interesting. She was wearing the dress-up heels I brought to her with a torn-off leg of a pair of tights on one leg only. Quite an outfit.03-coco And when we came back to the house after our walk, she changed clothes again.04-coco-the-model Her grandparents from England, Phil and Margaret, just left last week after a two-week visit. Phil sent me some photos of the kids and one of Coco was labeled, “Always the model.” That is certainly true. But in addition to her princess tendencies, she does take ample time to romp and play with Ziggy.10-just-having-fun She’s a great mix of princess and tomboy. And Ziggy is an incredibly patient and loving older brother.02-ziggy

Justin’s umbilical hernia repair surgery is tomorrow. Jo will take him to the hospital at 7 am and I will do the morning routine with the kids. Coco and I will deliver Ziggy to school and then we are headed to the beach for the morning as she doesn’t have pre-school on Tuesdays or Thursdays. We will spend the day together, pick Ziggy up at 4 pm, and go to a park in Rincon to play before we come home to fix dinner. Justin’s surgery is supposed to be in and out, but it is difficult to know what time they will get home. My earliest estimate is 3 pm if everything goes perfectly and on-time. But we all know that things going perfectly is usually just a pipe dream. Jo says nothing in Puerto Rico is ever on-time. But we will all be elated if the only hitch is timing. I’m so glad I can be here to help with the kids and to see first-hand that Justin is fine. This should be a simple surgery, but because moms to worry, send your most positive thoughts this way for a smooth operation and quick recovery. That positive energy will be greatly appreciated.

2017 Life Logs, Day 38: Arrival in Puerto Rico

2017 Life Logs, Day 38: Arrival in Puerto Rico
Date: Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Weather: Partly Cloudy with Afternoon Rain Showers; Temp in the 80’s F
Location: At Home with JJZ&C, Finca Maravilla, Aguada, PR

I have had a wonderful day but am so tired due to the lack of sleep last night that I’m not sure how much I can share with you before falling asleep. It is wonderful to be here with JJZ&C and we had a great day together. I arrived here at Finca Maravilla at 5 am with Justin out on the road to show me the way down the steep driveway. Miraculously, the barking dogs didn’t wake Ziggy and Coco and we all managed to get three hours of sleep. I slept for an hour on the plane, so that gives me a grand total of four hours of sleep in the last 24. Ziggy had school, but Justin, Jo, and Ziggy were here this morning and I was given the grand tour of the property.01-justin-and-ziggy-take-oma-for-a-tour02-coco-finds-eggs-in-the-henhouse03-justin-feeds-the-goats After lunch, Justin headed to their prior house to get some work done. He still keeps his office there and will do so until the contract is up in April. When we picked Ziggy up from school at 4 pm, we all headed to the beach to jump the waves and play in the sand.04-at-the-beach And then we came home to enjoy a great dinner cooked by Jo—roast beef, broccoli, fried plantain, and salad. Great dinner to top off a great day.

Life After Windbird, Day 114: Christmas Parade and ‘Interesting’ Concert

Life After Windbird, Day 114: Christmas Parade and ‘Interesting’ Concert
Date: Sunday, December 4, 2016
Weather: Sunny, Windy, and Cold; High Temp 41, Low 27 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

The weather for the annual Falmouth Christmas Parade was windy and cold, but it was sunny. So that saved the day. I drove downtown a bit early to secure curbside seating for Heather, Ollie, and myself. Since Jed, Sam, and Jonah were marching in the parade with the Boy Scouts, there would just be the three of us to watch. I sat there basking in the sun with my winter coat and hood on to protect me from the wind while reading my book. It actually felt quite cozy. And when Heather and Ollie arrived, we settled in to get ready for the parade.07-heather-and-ollie Unfortunately, the people just to the left of us decided to stand out in the street obstructing our view. This is the first time I have encountered this at a Falmouth Christmas Parade. Usually people are extremely aware that they should not stand out in the street, but not this year. And when Heather said something to the woman standing in the street directly in front of her, the woman basically scoffed at her. Despite that incident, we enjoyed the parade. We were cheering as Sam, Jonah, and Jed walked by02-here-come-the-boy-scouts03-joey-pulling-the-wagon-sam-in-elf-hat-behind and we always love the pipe bands.05-brian-boru-pipe-band Santa drove past at the end of the parade and that made for a great afternoon.06-santa After the parade, I invited the Goldstones over for an impromptu lunch and to help decorate my tree. It was the first time I have seen my Christmas ornaments since they were put in storage in 2003 and it was fun to see which ornaments the boys chose to put on the tree. Some of my ornaments are for a much larger tree and the boys did a nice job of sorting those out. I now have a fully lighted and decorated Christmas tree.08-christmas-tree-2016

Shortly after 3 pm, we all dispersed. I was headed to a 3:30 concert at a local church with Jane Woodin and Heather, Jed, and boys were headed home. Jane called me just after I arrived downtown for the parade to invite me to the concert. I assumed it was a Christmas concert and thought that sounded like fun. So I said I would meet her at the church. It started shortly after we arrived and it was not what I was expecting. It was a super religious version of a Christmas concert. As I sat there, I wondered if Jane invited me because she thought I needed to give up my sinful ways. But as soon as the not so beautiful singing ended, Jane said, “Let’s get out of here.” When we got outside, she apologized saying that the concert was certainly not what she expected and I gave a big sigh of relief knowing that my friend was not trying to save me! We then headed to Jane’s house to have a glass of wine to wash away the memories of a not so great concert.

When I got home, I had a Skype video call with Justin, Jo, Ziggy, and Coco. I asked Ziggy and Coco what they wanted for Christmas and got the stock reply from Ziggy—Legos. But Coco gave us a bit of a surprise by saying she wants a castle and her own iPhone. I remind you that Coco is only four years-old, but she has BIG ideas. Justin and Jo will be moving into their new home beginning on December 28, so this Christmas will be a bit of a transition time for them. I would love to fly down to see them for Christmas, but I think it is best that I wait until February or March once they are settled in the new home. Mark and I, plus Heather and family, were with them for Thanksgiving last year and Mark and I spent Christmas in Puerto Rico in 2014. But I haven’t had a Christmas with Heather, Jed, and boys since Sam’s first Christmas in 2007. Justin and Jo and Mark and I joined the Goldstones in Maine that year—the last time we have been together as a family for Christmas. One of the only regrets I have about the years that we were gone sailing around the world is that it meant we no longer had a home to carry on the family holiday traditions. It is a bit like being a man without a country. And once we returned, we found our adult children had fallen into traditions of their own. Heather, Jed, and boys go to Maine every Christmas. And Justin and Jo are always at home, but home has moved from New Mexico to Culebra in Puerto Rico to the west coast of Puerto Rico. In the last five years, Mark and I spent two Christmases with my sister and brother-in-law, two with Justin and Jo, and one visiting with friends in New Hampshire. So this year I will enjoy Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with Heather, Jed, and boys before they head to Maine the day after Christmas. I’m not sure what I will do during the week between Christmas and New Year. Maybe I can take that week to write about the memories of that very special man that I am missing so much.