Archive for the ‘this and that’ Category

Fun with Numbers, Again

Wednesday, December 11, 2013, 14:15 EDT Leave a comment
Categories: this and that

Fun with Numbers

Wednesday, December 11, 2013, 09:11 EDT Leave a comment
Categories: this and that

Fun with Numbers, Continued

Tuesday, November 12, 2013, 14:15 EDT Leave a comment
Categories: this and that

Fun with Numbers

Tuesday, November 12, 2013, 09:10 EDT Leave a comment
Categories: this and that

Don’t Know Why

Saturday, October 12, 2013, 05:42 EDT Leave a comment

I used to laugh at people, usually of middle age or older, who swore off caffeine after 3pm. “I can’t have that Snapple/Coke/second cup of coffee or I’ll be awake all night.” I thought it was all in their heads: if they dwelled on it like that, of course they’d be awake all night. Besides, I used to consume ridiculous amounts of caffeine (before my doctor told me to cut waaaay back for medical reasons) and I always slept like a baby.

Now I’m lying in bed, less than two hours before sunrise, having been awake since about 2:30am and not knowing why. Then I remembered the two+ cans of Coke I had before/during/after supper last night at my father’s day-after-birthday dinner. It was as if a giant cosmic finger pointed itself at me and said, “Aha!” Our bodies change as we age and crap like that starts to happen, apparently even to me. Though I don’t understand the physiological reason, it’s nice to know there is one. The universe feels more orderly when I know why.

I believe that everything has a reason. For every effect, there is a cause. I’m not talking about great philosophical questions (Google “Ellen Degeneres Phone Call to God” for a humorous take). I’m talking about something more basic, something simple like a rattle in my car caused by something loose. And when I can’t find it, it’s annoying as hell.

Read more…

Categories: this and that

Calendar Coincidences

Thursday, October 10, 2013, 19:20 EDT Leave a comment

CalendarIf you read my previous post, you know that today is the 45th anniversary of my uncle’s death. It is also one of several days on which I ponder the many days on my family calendar that mark multiple events. Apropos of Uncle Nicky:

  • The day he died was also his brother-in-law’s—my father’s—birthday.
  • Janet, Uncle Nicky’s fiance, was born on my maternal grandmother’s birthday.

There are several other shared dates on my mother’s side of the family, including:

  • Cousin Joe’s birth on my mother’s birthday.
  • Cousin Linda’s birth on cousin Rob’s birthday.
  • Cousin Tricia’s birth on cousin Laura’s birthday.
  • My son’s birth on cousin Sally’s birthday.

And that isn’t even including the near-misses, like Uncle Nicky’s birth the day after my mother’s birthday and his namesake cousin Nicky’s birth the day after my brother’s birthday.

On Dad’s side, relatives tend to die on holidays. For example:

  • My great-grandfather died on New Year’s Eve.
  • My grandfather died on Independence Day.
  • My great-aunt died on Thanksgiving.
  • My great-grandmother died on St. Patrick’s Day.
  • My brother died on the second anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing (OK, not a holiday, but a significant historical date nonetheless).

So on Ma’s side, people tend to be born on other relatives’ birthdays, and on Dad’s side, people tend to die on holidays. But one person mixed it up a little:

  • My paternal grandmother was born on Halloween and died on my sister-in-law’s birthday.

Finally, though this wasn’t by chance, my parents were married on my maternal grandmother and almost-aunt’s birthday.

With only 365 or 366 days in any given year, it isn’t unusual that most people would observe some such synchronism among those they know. But I’m not sure I’ve ever known another family with so much of it.

Categories: family, this and that

Happy Birthday. Mind Blown.

Monday, July 15, 2013, 15:28 EDT Leave a comment

Last Friday was your humble blogger’s birthday. I’ll pause for a minute while you sing a belated “Happy Birthday” to me.

. . .

Why, thank you very much, that was lovely.

I got an unexpected birthday gift that day. I thought it would be a good idea to get my driver’s license renewed before the end of the day, since it expired at midnight. So I went to Google to look up the web site for the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles because, apparently, URL is too complicated for my aging brain to retain. When I got to Google’s main page, I saw this:

Google search page, July 12, 2013

And I thought, facetiously, “Well isn’t it nice of Google to put up a special doodle just for my birthday!” Then I scrolled over the doodle to see whom it was really for, since several famous people were born on the same date as I was (among them Bill Cosby, Richard Simmons, Henry David Thoreau, and possibly even Julius Caesar).

When I hovered the mouse pointer over the doodle, what to my wondering eyes should appear but a most unexpected result:

Google search page, July 12, 2013, mouse over

My vision isn’t what it used to be (and it was already crappy by the time I was in elementary school) so I grabbed my reading glasses:

Google doodle, July 12, 2013, detail

It took a couple of seconds to realize that I was logged in to Google and they obviously have some clever macro that changes the “Google” graphic on the date listed on your profile as your birthday. Apparently, they’ve been doing this for at least a couple of years, but I hadn’t noticed it before.

Hey Den Mother, Where You At?

Friday, March 22, 2013, 10:20 EDT Leave a comment

Sorry for seeming to break my promise to blog more. Generally, my most productive blogging time is on my lunch break or at the tail end of the work day just before I go home. Unfortunately, the itty bitty brains that run our IT department have decided that the functionality of internet browsers on our office computers should mimic that of Netscape Navigator, circa 2002. In other words, the updated web version of WordPress, on which I publish and host this blog, won’t run on my work computer. WordPress has a pretty good BlackBerry app, but it isn’t easy to insert and format images. And by the time I get home in the evening, I either face a to-do list a mile long or am just too tired to put a coherent sentence together.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t have a steady stream of blog topics at the ready at the aforesaid lunchtime and end-of-workday periods. So if it’s alright with you, I’ll do more text-only posts. Those of you who prefer the pictures will have to be patient.

Categories: this and that

The past, the present, and the future walk into a bar.

Thursday, February 7, 2013, 22:27 EDT Leave a comment

It was tense.

That isn’t merely a kick-ass bit of grammar humor; it’s also a good way to begin what I hope will be the post that gets me back into regular blogging. I’m more than a little embarrassed that I’ve only blogged twice since mid-October. A lot has happened and continues to happen, so let’s jump right in, shall we?

The Past

The previous four months were not without incident. In November, I hosted my second annual Thanksgiving dinner, this time without the plumbing calamity that afflicted my 2011 effort. Just over a week later, in early December, my house was broken into and some of my jewelry stolen. My employer moved to a brand new building in January, giving me indoor parking for the first time in my working life. And earlier this week, a visit to Boston to see off the Red Sox’ Florida-bound equipment truck ended with an unexpected trip into Fenway Park’s home clubhouse, courtesy of my BFF, Red Sox president Larry Lucchino. But that’s a story for another post.

The Present

Those of you who haven’t been living in a cave these last few days know that a big snow storm is coming to New England. If it’s as bad as the meteorologists are predicting, it could rival the infamous Blizzard of ’78, a two-day ordeal that ended 35 years ago today.

As usual, the forecasts vary. Right now, AccuWeather is calling for my area (southern Worcester County, near the Massachusetts/Connecticut/Rhode Island “T”) to get blizzard conditions and snow accumulation of “around a foot.” The Weather Channel is calling for 18-24 inches throughout southern New England. The National Weather Service office in Boston includes my location in the blizzard warning area and is predicting snow totals over two feet.

My biggest concern isn’t the snow. Temperatures will be cold enough that it should be the fluffy stuff that is unlikely to weigh down tree limbs and is relative easy to clear. The worst part of a blizzard is the high wind, one of the main characteristics that distinguishes a blizzard from any other big snow storm. All those trees that won’t be damaged by the fluffy snow could be brought down by wind. If they land on power lines, say good-bye to electricity and heat for at least 24 hours.

It’s a good thing I replenished my firewood supply, filled the snow blower with gas, charged my spare cell phone batter, and stocked up on fixings for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

The Future

More so recently than in quite a while, I’ve been pondering my future. None of us really knows what tomorrow will bring, much less next month or next year, but for some reason I am more acutely aware than usual of all the ways that my future is out of my control. Perhaps I’m having a premonition of big changes on the horizon, though I have no idea if they will be bad or good. What I do know is that I am strangely at peace despite the uncertainty. That may not last, especially if something happens not to my liking. For the time being, though, I feel uncharacteristically fine with letting things be.

Categories: this and that

New Year, New Post

Thursday, January 10, 2013, 12:26 EDT Leave a comment

And so it happened on the tenth day of the first month that the Den Mother emerged from her slumber and said, Damn, there’s a lot to talk about.

A belated but most sincere merry Christmas and happy new year to not only my regular readers and also the multitudes who stumble in here daily. Let me say how glad I am that 2012 is over. It wasn’t the worst year I ever had, but it did include two new experiences which I hope never to repeat: the Den Son’s hospitalization following a suicide attempt, and my house break-in and theft. I’m not equating the importance or severity of those two events except to say that both could have resulted in deaths but didn’t. For that I am grateful.

Now comes a whole new crop of potential blogging material, from the Sandy Hool school shooting to the fiscal cliff to the Baseball Hall of Fame election that wasn’t to the return of NHL hockey, and dozens of bloggable stories in between. Which I will actually turn into posts will be a surprise even to me. On any given day, I have up to a half dozen flashes that could turn into posts if only I would drop everything and write for 30-60 minutes. Unfortunately, most of those flashes occur when I’m working, driving, or falling asleep. Which explains why this blog has been idle for more than two months.

I make no promises, except that I will do my best to make sure it isn’t another two months. There is too much to talk about.

Categories: this and that

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