Thursday, December 31, 2009

Be safe tonight!


Thursday, December 24, 2009


The two holidays that exemplify tradition to me come at the end of each year with , first, Thanksgiving, followed close behind by Christmas. It's at this time of year that I reflect back on the things which give me comfort and solace; whether it be Bing Crosby singing White Christmas, or the aroma of Diane's fresh baked Cinnamon buns, there is a treasure chest full of sensory delights that contribute to my relishing the life and times I've been granted by the Grace of God and his son. Traditions change, and it seems even more so today. One of the traditions that change is the venue of the celebrations. For our immediate family, the venues migrated to the home where the young children resided. With each migration our traditions are tweaked and blended in with those we grew up with, bringing a freshness to the old habits.

While Christmas day will, once again be greeted warmly at the Morristown Manse this year of our Lord, 2009, two of our children will be absent from the gathering around the tree. For there is a new member of the family making her stamp on our Christmas: Sophia Aubrey LaRock will be the focus of Christmas in Buffalo with her Parents and the new tradition begins. Weather permitting, Grandma and grandpa along with auntie Michelle will make their way to Sophia's home to celebrate with her, her first Christmas.

For a number of years now grandma and grandpa have traveled to Texas to celebrate Christmas in the first week of December with our middle son and our two grand daughters. This year that celebration took place at Disney World in Florida.
Our traditions are changing; as they should.

Along with Bing Crosby etal, "twas the night before Christmas" has always been a favorite, of mine, to read and recite at Christmas tide. In the 1970's a new missive rose to the top of my favorite reads and audutory enjoyments. The "Walton's" Christmas album came out with a recitation by Will Geer, as Grandpa Walton, telling us what Christmas means to him. Since then I've always made it a point to read and listen to this piece and it has become a regular in my things to reflect upon and enjoy, if not all year long , at least at this time of year when we celebrate the birthday of Jesus Christ.
I've published that piece here on the blog before and it bears republishing again this year:
Grandpa's Christmas Wish Lyrics by Will Geer - Grandpa Walton Christmas Message, What is Christmas?

It is a time when some of your dreams come true. Every year it roles around and takes you by surprise some of the time, especially when you’re as close to a 100 years old as I am. You Can’t be time for another one, but there it is with all it’s hope and joy and the promise of the wishes granted. I bet you wonder what I wish for. What could an old man wish for? Maybe you think I would wish to be young again. I don’t want that. Being young is a painful thing. Being young and in love to boot, which most young people are, is even more agony. I’ll tell you what I wish. I’d wish for the power to return some of the love that’s been given me. I’d wish the time and place for all that giving could be commemorated like the heart I carved on the tree around your Grandmother’s and my initials. I wish too for more days to my life. Time...time to give to children some of the beauty of this Earth that has been revealed to me. A drop of water is a wondrous thing.A spade full of earth is a kingdom in itself. A cloud is worth watching as it passes from one horizon to another. A bird building its nest is as wondrous as men building the Pyramid, and any green thing that grows is proof that God exists. It all comes into focus at Christmas. It is a tender time. We grow cautious because we open ourselves to love. We exchange gifts, but what those presents really say is "I love you." It makes some folks uncomfortable to say or hear these words. Maybe it’s because they’ve never learned the secret of the given heart. There are more takers than givers in the world. People, communities even countries spending their time grubbing and rooting for the goods of this earth like pigs after acorns in the Fall of the year. This is a country with a given heart and I pray it will always be so. It’s a good country and it’s part of our strength, something that we brought with us as pioneers that we can share with the fellow who is down on his luck, with those who suffered calamities: with the loss of their homes or land or their hope. This is a family with a giving heart. You children may squabble and bicker among yourselves but you’ve been taught to love and to give, and that’s the greatest present your Momma and Daddy could have given you. So take pleasure in the trappings of Christmas. Be merry like the songs say. Revel in the tinsel and the glitter and the sparkle and sing the old songs for all the joy that’s in them and the memories they bring back. But to touch the real Christmas, to feel the true spirit of the season, look to your own heart and find all the secret treasures that they’re there to give. There is one wish that I make every year. I never said it aloud before, but I’ll tell it to you now. I wish for all the seasons I have known, endlessly to come and go; the dogwood Spring, the watermelon Summer, the russet and gold of Autumn. I wish for Christmas to come again and for each of us to be here again next year at this time...together, safe, warm and loved as we are at this moment.

To all my friends, cyber friends, facebook friends, co-workers, past and present, my children and grand children And most especially my Wife Diane: Merry Christmas. Thanks for brightening my life at this time and all throughout the years.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

City sidewalks, busy sidewalks
Dressed in holiday style
In the air
There's a feeling of Christmas
Children laughing
People passing
Meeting smile after smile
And on ev'ry street corner you'll hear
Silver bells, silver bells
It's Christmas time in the city
Ring-a-ling, hear them sing
Soon it will be Christmas day
Strings of street lights
Even stop lights
Blink a bright red and green
As the shoppers rush home with their treasures
Hear the snow crunch
See the kids bunch
This is Santa's big scene
And above all this bustle
You'll hear
Silver bells, silver bells
It's Christmas time in the city
Ring-a-ling, hear them sing
Soon it will be Christmas day

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Counting the hours.......................................................................................

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Every morning on Face Book I've been commenting on the frigid temps that have greeted me when I arise. It was from a safely warm abode that I viewed the indoor/outdoor thermometer showing 61 degrees in the kitchen and minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit out on the back porch.
A week long siege of sub-freezing weather never portends well for we temperate designed beings.
When I arrived home yesterday, D. related the fact that she'd had to take a hurray-up shower that morning because of a lack of hot water. She surmised correctly that the fuel oil fired hot water heater was not working. We went down cellar and I showed her where the restart button was located, and after pushing the button the heater fired up and voila, soon we were awash in hot water. Problem solved.
Caveat: if after two attempts at pushing the restart button to no avail, abandon your efforts and call an expert to come and fix the problem.
Shift to 6 AM this morning. As I climbed out of our heated water bed my brain, trying to unmuddle itself, said to me (that infernal inner dialog). Did you notice that you remained under all the covers during the night and at those few times that your arms and shoulders were exposed to the air you quickly pulled the covers up over them? I silently acknowledged the fact, (silent? this is internal dialog; how can it be anything other than silent?) Chalking it up to the fact that the forecaster had foretold of serious sub-zero temps for the night I thought that the room was just a little cooler than usual or perhaps D. had cracked the window open a tad.
The cat, having waited patiently for someone to emerge from the bed, meowing and leading me to the stairway prompted an often repeated thought: "one day you'll trip over this beast when he stops on the unlit stairs to check and see if you're still behind him and they'll find you dead at the bottom of the stairs with a broken neck with the cat standing beside you whining for you to get up and fill his food dish. Prodding the lbb with the tip of my slipper to shoo him down the stairs I grip the the banister and as I begin my descent my brain is aware that the rail is cooler than usual; cold actually. Funny how that happens: something you do by rote everyday summons no conscious awareness 'til it's different.
The cobwebs of sleep are gone, replaced by the clearly focused thought; something amiss here, better check the thermostat. First a trip to the commode. Squinting to read the thermostat dial in the dim light from the desk lamp tells me finally that D. had set the dial back to 60 when she retired, but the temperature of the room was under 50. "This is not good!"
"Commmmme OOnnnn" meows the lbb, "I'm starving!" Passing through the kitchen I look at the indoor/outdoor thermometer: inside 50 degrees, outside -5 Fahrenheit. "Guess what rel? The furnace isn't working." "yes" I think, and look over at the wood stove as I get the can of cat food. "Darn, if I can't get the furnace started I'll have to clear all those things off from and away from the woodstove and then get a fire started;" not what I was looking forward to this morning.
LSS, Down the cellar, Whoops; first put food in lbb's dish, stairs, remove door to working guts of furnace, push reset button: Voila!!!! "YES, it's running". "Slow down bud, give it some time to see if you get heat in the house before you celebrate, ok?" "OK, I'll go make the coffee and contemplate getting prepared to fire up the woodstove. God I'm glad we kept that stove hooked up."
Now, two hours later: -5 outside, 62 inside, aside: "Hmm, may have to fire up that stove afterall."


Friday, December 18, 2009

I think; there-in lies the problem. Sometimes an empty mind is a desirable state of being; Aye, to silence the inner dialog.
"The whole world is the same community;
each and every one learns there's nothing to do.
This is the very place to select a Buddha!
I return empty-minded, having passed
the exam."
Layman P'ang


Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Saturday, December 12, 2009

rel is off to America's Store; to buy Christmas cards. Oh, and maybe something in a turquoise shade. He'll want to be in style for 2010!
Perhaps some paint. Just do one wall in the office?



Friday, December 11, 2009

It's 20 degrees F. this morning:
I declare today as "wear your toque to work day"


Thursday, December 10, 2009

file this story under: In the blink of an eye.

Yesterday I posted that we were expecting some form of wintry mix, but later in the day, so my drive to work would be uneventful.


Mind you, before writing that post I'd been out for my morning jog and up to my gym for a strength training workout. After writing the blog post I again went out; to retrieve the morning paper from the porch and still there was no sign of any precipitation.

After showering and getting dressed, I woke my wife to say goodbye, and when she inquired as to the state of the weather: "what's it doing out?" I replied, "nothing."

Three minutes later, I'm out the door into a blinding snow squall.

Those of you who live in those parts of the country where snow is common in the winter months will appreciate the fact that there is little worse than following a snow plow for any stretch of road and particularly in the dark of night, or in my case the early morning hours. Freezing rain is probably the worse winter driving hazard, but snowplow following comes in a close second.

I backed out of my garage at 0600 as is my usual custom. Even accounting for the days where I stop for gas, coffee,a danish and the paper, it usually takes me fifty minutes to drive to my place of work.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of following a Milk truck behind a car behind a snowplow at a cruising speed of 25-30 mph. One and one half hours later I pulled into the hospital parking lot.

Safe, sound and not late. It could have been worse.

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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

" Oh the weather outside is frightful, and the fire is so delightful............!"

The weather forecasters are predicting some wintry type of storm to last for a few days starting later today. It's quiet at the moment so the drive to Massena this morning should be uneventful; as long as I look out for the other guy. I'll stay put in Massena tonight, as I'm on call, so the challenges of winter may be by-passed on this occasion.

This inclement weather forecast reminds me of our last day in Florida last week. after a splendid week of excellent anesthesia lectures, 70 degree days, and the thrill of Disney parks with our grand daughters, Friday was reserved for an excursion to EPCOT. The day began overcast and soon developed into a day long rain. For my money, I'd have said nuts on it, lets stay in the hotel where it's dry and comfortable. But the grand babies were not fazed in the least by the rain and so we followed their lead and plunged ahead. We purchased ponchos immediately upon arrival which served to keep most of our bodies dry; most especially our respective cameras. We took in as many indoor spectacles as possible. We had a grand lunch sitting outside on the terrace of the French bistro/ patisserie barely under the cover of their canopy and actually had a fun time. After leaving the french experience, the sky opened up for a deluge which served to soak everyone from the soles of our feet up to our knees. I for one was ready to call it a day and seek the bus ride back to the hotel, but the girls really wanted to go on the SOARIN ride and pleaded to stay. Well what could I say? The whole purpose of this trip was to give the girls the Disney experience and if the weather wasn't a deterrent for them who was I to put a damper on their fun.

The ride was well worth the 55 minute stand-in-line, and when we finally left the park everyone was in a great mood despite the weather.

Taking a lesson from my my grand daughters: Make the most of your day, regardless of the weather!

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