Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Power Again! Hooray! Thank You!

We had a moment of false hope on day 9 when the utility truck arrived on our road and started working on our pole. I was certain that this was going to be the day for the restoration. Apparently when the trees came crashing across the lines, the insulators on many of the transformers were torn off. Alas our poor transformer suffered this fate and the crew removed it and drove off. This was a dark day for Ginny and I, knowing that current was running along our street and illuminating our neighbor's Christmas trees. Day 10 brought some unwelcome heavy snow which hampered the work crews progress. The temperature plummeted and we decided to move our sleeping quarters to the first floor. In the coldest days the basement was a comfortable 69 degrees (wood stove), the living room was 57 degrees (the floor was 63 degrees) and the second floor was 52 degrees (acceptable with a down comforter). Day 11 was bright but very cold and when the crew arrived with our new transformer, it was just getting dark. This picture was taken at 3:54 PM, it was 15 degrees and windy. The crews were working almost around the clock. I don't think you could pay me enough to climb into a bucket and hover 30 feet in the air in that type of weather. A number of these folks are going to miss Christmas with their families. I was chatting with the crew and one worker told me that he sent his wife some roses. As I write this the crews are still working on the wires. It is Christmas Eve the temperature is 25 degrees and we are getting .... (can you guess?) sleet with a chance of freezing rain. These guys deserve our thanks.

Friday, December 19, 2008

New Ipswich Ice Storm - Neighbors Helping (Part 1)

I'd like to publically thank Lars and Amy Somero for providing free showers and laundry services to the citizens of New Ipswich at a Redfield Homes model home.

I've heard many stories about folks hooking up generators, offering hot showers, cooking meals and checking up on each other. It's encouraging news.

Unfortuately there have been some robberies and scam artists claiming to expedite power restoration, and door to door generator salesmen selling $800 generators at a huge markup.

It seems that any disaster brings out the best and worse of human behavior. I know that I am thanking the power crews. I hope they will be able to return to their families by Christmas. They are here from all over the east coast and Canada.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mom has power but....

All our neighbors had power as of 6:30PM on Wed... but not us.. apparently there are five "issues" on the line and they are working on it. So we are shoveling snow and showering at mom's. Also sweeping water in her basement (underground stream that sump pump didn't get with power off) and doing laundry. Ah.. 6 days into this is getting old.

Ice can be hazardous! The welded lawn sculpture that Jesse made "the gardener" was speared from behind by a branch through the shoulder and out the front of his chest! Yikes.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

New Boston Ice Storm "Recovery" Continues

We’re in a serious weather event – ice storm w. major power outages, but we have no idea about what is going on since we don’t have communications access. I took Mom around for my Saturday errands. Fortunately they did have power where I was scheduled for my haircut…nice to get a shampoo. And then I went to the gym for a shower. When we got back to town we went to the elementary school to check out the first run of our “emergency shelter” situation. Since they needed a midnight to 6AM shift “supervisor” we volunteered. [Mom felt she wanted an “adventure” Actually Mom is the one who could stay up all night reading her Jodi Picoult book.. I slept. Weird to sleep in the gym where I taught 22 years ago! ]
In town, we do have two couples who have been trained in CERT Community Emergency Response Training – a national program for community members to be prepared in event of emergencies. They have been putting in 12+ hours a day shifts.

Picture of Mom w. walkie talkie (is it still called that?) At "base 100" direct line to fire chief.

Lots and lots of food was donated but not that many people sleeping over. But in the AM folks came in for some thawing time and hot foot. I do think there is a stigma to the term “shelter”.. maybe “relief station” or “comfort zone” would be more welcoming.

The national guard, 2-trucks full, showed up since the fire station generator died.. their duty was to trim trees.. they reported that we are one of the towns worst hit.. too many trees down, although they said most people on those roads were out with their own chain saws clearing branches. The local firemen chatted with them, the general conversation being complaints about public service utility not efficient enough with tree trimming. It sounded more like competition over who is the better team. The national guard group is a parallel to a teacher on a field trip- the group (19-20 yr olds?)getting directions about going to the bathroom and get some food and don’t get overheated b/c then you will be chilled outside.

So , in addition to catching up on my knitting and handcrafts I am strategizing how to get a shower and do we have school or not.. etc. etc.

Our house is toasty. We have the gas lights that are keeping an even temperature. We have not yet fired up the woodstove (not too much wood). Our new gas heaters have an electric thermostat and fan, so they are not a help. The lights are really the answer for us now. We can cook because we have the gas stove.

Brad & I went to the Apple store and played with new toys and got caught up on email. I heard on radio no school in Amherst,,, but went anyway b/c we are technically a different district and they always name us separately .. but no actually no school.. so I had a nice 6AM chat w. custodians and a little quiet work time.

Time to go gather water!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Happy November Birthdays

Happy Birthday to Sharrie, Steve, Ron, Grace Northgraves and Debbie in November that I know of so far. Sharrie's face in the picture album is as familiar at all ages as my own. Love this gal I grew up with! Happy day.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Happy Guy Fawkes Day

On November 5th My British friend Peter reminded me that it was Guy Fawkes Day, so I rummaged through my cache of fireworks to celebrate that crazy religious zealot. I'm always looking for excuses to fire a few flares or roman candles and I'm sad to report that I missed Diwali, but there is always next year.

I uploaded a quick video to share:

Chris Wood as "Sweeney Todd"

This link will lead you to a review of Chris Wood in Elon production of Sweeney Todd. He WAS Sweeney! Andee and Steve went down for the show and spent a night with Barbara in New Bern.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Winter is coming, gather that firewood the quick way

I'm a bit sore. I cut up a bunch of firewood, mostly heavy red oak. I used a hydraulic wood splitter to pare it down to stove dimensions. These wood splitters are very safe but it takes a while for the piston to push the log into the wedge... if only there was a quicker way...

Monday, November 03, 2008

Rara Avis

I saw a greenish-yellow bird feasting on Autumn Olive fruits this weekend. I was unable to identify it using Peterson's bird book. It was quite fearless but I was unable to get a close up shot. The color balance is close but not perfect and the predominant feature was this bird's color.

If you have an idea what this could be please leave a comment. The Peterson's guide does not have enough color plates and I am stumped!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Anthony Poltrack

57 years ago Anthony Poltrack passed away. All Soul's Day. He was Pop to me, probably to many of you, also. May his soul rest in peace. Hey! Lillian's with her Dad after all these years.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Mouse Mischief

Autumn in New England is truly a treat. However as the weather grows colder, field mice and other critters decide they would rather find warmer quarters. Recently I was faced with the prospect of no heat in my aging Honda. The heater fan was making groaning noises and I instinctively knew the reason... MICE! I have many years of removing mice and their debris from a truck's air intact, under the flywheel of lawnmowers, even baked remains in our oven , dehydrated, decapitated by cats and frozen corpses in a bucket. I won't be foolish enough to leave my car unmoved for long periods again.

Monday, October 13, 2008

What is the purpose of this shed?


On a hike in Annett State Park in Rindge, I came across a few "sheds" in a forested area. They were in disrepair and were fitted with locks. I'd like to know what they were used for. Any ideas?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Some good news about the financial crisis

Actually there is very little good news about the financial crisis. I suppose if you have a safe job, are looking for a home (if you can get credit) or just starting with a k401 there are some benefits.

I already have a home, have a diminished k401 and work in an industry with a proven record of layoffs.

So what is my good news? It's simple... LESS JUNK MAIL CREDIT CARD OFFERS.
For years, I have been getting daily offers with "courtesy checks" from my friends at Capital One and other "banks".

I tried to remove my name from these mailings, registering with the Catalog Choice and DMA Choice to no avail. But now I am completely Credit Card offer free. I haven't received one offer since this meltdown happened. It is uncanny and a little disconcerting since one financial strategy might be to pay secured loans (like the home mortgage or a car) with UNsecured loans (advances on a deck of credit cards). When the bills come due I could simply shrug my shoulders, apologize and direct them to Washington for a bailout. The loans are unsecured, so besides the annoying calls from collection agents, there is nothing they can do.

[Disclaimer - I'm just joking]

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Buster deals with his anxiety

Buster is a fine cat (with humans) but his socialization skills with other cats has been problematic. He gets along fine with the cats that proceeded his arrival but the introduction of new cats has been a disaster. We have tried all the suggestions to make the introductions polite, but have been rewarded with rolling balls of fighting cats, chewed ears and ungodly sounds. Buster is always the aggressor in these spats. His nemesis is a playful and curious female cat named Paris (named after the city, not the actress) who drives him crazy. Both cats are neutered so it doesn't appear to be a hormonal thing, but Buster started the disgusting habit of spraying to mark his indoor "territory". Buster was well on the way to becoming an full time outdoor cat.

I decided it was time to try to unravel the mysteries of his mind, so I purchased a product named Feliway that mimics feline facial pheromones and is supposed to calm cats and prevent furniture scratching and spraying. When a cat rubs his face against you it is releasing a calming "happy" pheromone. Unfortunately this did not work.

The next treatment for Buster was the administration of female hormones. I figured that Buster needed to get in touch with his feminine side. This did seem to have an effect for a day or two, while Buster tried to figure out his sexual identity but after a while he was back to making Paris's life one of running an hiding, more fur and more broken pottery.

Thankfully my vet did some research and suggested antidepressent medication. Buster is now on a drug regimen using the human anxiety drug Amitriptyline. I had to sign for this when I picked up his prescription (made out to Buster Cat Poltrack). The side effects are pretty scary, I have to make sure that Buster doesn't have any suicidal thoughts, but so far he's acting pretty mellow. He did chase Paris the other day, but it was obvious that he meant no harm. Every evening we reenact a scene from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest dispensing Buster's meds in his cat food.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Haying Song

I'm not very good with video editing, but this is one song that we should learn to sing for the December Party

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Who is the seated woman?

I came across an old family photo and I'm trying to identify the seated woman. I've heard stories that we had a very short Great Aunt, and I was hoping that someone could identify her.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Flip Flop creations

And the winner is.... Beer and Viagra

Second Place winner is... Golden Toes

For a limited time you may use the poll at the top of this page to vote for your favorite flip-flop creation. You can make multiple selections unlike American Idol.

The gallery of photos can be seen at

Or click on this picture:


Thursday, May 08, 2008

Please support the fight against stroke


Emily is going to participate in the Falmouth Road Race this August. Here are the details:


I’m training to run the 2008 Falmouth Race to benefit Tedy's Team! Your donations mean so much to me!

Through Tedy's Team, I have a coach, a team, training schedules, and special clinics – and I’m raising thousands of dollars for stroke research and education programs. That’s important, because someone suffers a stroke every 45 seconds and someone dies of one every 3.1 minutes. And 29 percent of people who have strokes are under age 65.

I’m asking for your support through your good thoughts and a generous contribution to the American Stroke Association. I am especially proud to run on behalf of many who’ve had a stroke and desperately need our help. You can run with me in spirit.

P.S. Your tax-deductible contribution, sent as soon as possible, is greatly appreciated! Every dollar makes a difference toward stroke research and education. If your company has a matching gift program, please send me the matching gift form along with your check – and potentially double your donation!

Follow This Link to visit my personal web page and help me in my efforts to support ASA - NEA - Boston,MA

Link to my Page

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Sponsor our "Relay for Life" participant


Stephanie (shown getting torque wrench instructions from Jesse) is participating in the "Relay for Life" for the American Cancer Society. I think all of us would rather make our charitable contributions based on some type of personal connection.  Stephanie and Jesse are students at UNH and are long time companions. Support her in her efforts.


Visit Stephanie's Donation Page

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Chipmunk DVD Giveaway has ended!

It seems that more folks read Marianne's blog than she thought and the Giveaway is closed. However after reading the postings I feel the need to find the Christmas song and discover a means to slow it down so I can hear the original "Chipmunks".

A Giveaway! "Alvin and the Chipmunks"

It is time for a Giveaway, I received this from Marianne:

Hey JohnI have no idea how many people read my blog, but I'm guessing it's a small (select?) group.anyway, that makes the odds really good for anyone who wants to enter CPF's first DVD giveaway.I have a few copies of the new "Alvin and the Chipmunks" DVD to hand out.I don't know which people on have young kids, but can you post this or spread the word?all they need to do is visit and click on "beware of the blog"and then they'll see "You've Been Munk'd!"


Monday, March 31, 2008

"45 Live" - the band

What:"45 LIVE" the band
45 LIVE the band "Where memories survive and Dreams Don't Die" are appearing at the Knights of Columbus on Saturday April 5th, 2008. The Knights of Columbus is located at 507 Shippan Avenue, Stamford, CT (203)964-1492. The band usually begins around 9:15 or so and will be playing until around 1:00 am. Come on out to dance and relive your memories of the Best of the 60's, 70's and 80's. Featuring our own "Chris Poltrack"
When:Saturday, April 5, 2008 9:15 PM to Sunday, April 6, 2008 1:00 AM
Where:Knights of Columbus
507 Shippan Avenue
Stamford, CT   USA

Friday, March 28, 2008

Get Together... Blog, Web and Forum


We went to British Columbia for our honeymoon. My father-in-law Abel John gave us new names. Abel is a member of the Mowachat tribe and I think it is a tradition to get a new name at transition points of your life.

Ginny got the name Ooks-Na-Quisit (phonetic because we are unaware of it's spelling). Generally this means "achieving greatest status".

I was really intrigued with my name Aah-In-Chisit because it means "through me people get together". This is a path the I have taken to heart... At least I'm having fun looking for ways to draw everyone into a shared experience. Technology to the rescue.

I never expected these times back in 1974 when the photo was taken. The idea of a "World Wide Web" did not exist until the early 80's.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Blogs, Podcasting, WWW, Wikis and Forums oh my!


I know this seems overwhelming that we have a web page, 2 blogs, online picture albums, a podcast site, and now a forum. Isn't email enough?

Email is great but it is constantly being used for tasks that can be handled by better tools. I see this at work when I get 25 emails from engineers designing some widget that is completely irrelevant to my project. The result of this is a clogged mailbox. They should be using a forum or instant messaging and only targeting members of that project.

Here is my take on what these different tool are capable of

  • Home Page - Mostly navigational  information, links to other sites, a calendar, news feeds etc, Example


  • Instant Messaging - Gtalk, AIM, Jabber, MSN are ideal for short back and forth conversation "texting". This is much more efficient and less annoying than sending (or receiving) an email with a single line or phrase. It is also fun to send those goofy emoticons of smiley faces.


  • Blogging - This is a horrible name which was derived from WebLog. It is an online journal which you share with the world or a group of people. I think it is a great tool for sharing your adventure with your friends. One of my favorites was written by Emily's former roommate about her adventures in Japan. Example


  • Podcasts - audio recordings that are integrated with Apple's iTunes and can listened to on the computer or loaded on a portable device (iPod or other). Example -


  • Forums (or Groups) - I like to think of a forum as a party in which groups of people are gathered in groups discussing a topic, any topic. As a participant you can drift from group to group and either listen or add your own input. The forum pages are divided into "topics" and the responses are listed below the initial posting. These topic follow a "thread" so you can follow a topic along it's course without being distracted by the other text on a page. Yahoo Groups is probably the most popular of the forum sites, but I'm using Google's groups -


  • WIKIs - These are one type of collaborative sites that are created and maintained by a group of folks. It has it's own web creation syntax and rules. There are other collaborative tools like Sharepoint, Google's sites etc. An example of a wiki is the online encyclopedia htp://

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Family Easter Traditions


For many years 4th Street was the epicenter for the holidays. The entire family with all the aunts, uncles, cousins would gather for food, music and fun. This photo was taken in 1949 when the aunts and uncles outnumbered the cousins. That changed quickly in the intervening years. The families have scattered but this traditions live on. Here are a collection of activities for Easter 2008 (the earliest yet!).

"Should I feel guilty that the weather report for Easter here is in the 80s, sunshine a plenty? We’ll be having two families over for eats, preceded by an annual neighborhood egg hunt (“Eastover” as they call it), which continues despite the fact that the kids are all now mostly in their teens. We’re going to be blowing and painting some eggs today. I do have a cold which puts a damper on things, but looking forward to breaking open the patio for the season! California does have its perks.
Love to all, Happy Easter,
Beverly "

"Ok, well we start at 6pm tonight, Chris and I are in the worship team at church so we will be singing and playing the music with our praise and worship band for tonight's service...a very solemn service. Russ will leave to visit Adam and Bren and Regina and Jim for the night in Yorktown, then Russ returns tomorrow when Jim and Reg and Adam and Bren leave for Marblehead, MA to be with Regina's family for Easter..Then Chris and I will attend our monthly church marriage Bible study, I am only making roasted potatoes to go with the Prime Rib dinner. Sunday morning Chris and I will rise before sunrise to help with the music and sunrise service at Cove Island Beach in Stamford. Then we have a quick breakfast prepared by the guys on Sunday morning in the basement of our church and then we all go home to rest up. Chris and me and Russ then pick up his friend in N. Stamford and we drive to KSC in NH, to return them to college for classes that resume on Monday...Chris and I will return hopefully before dark on Sunday night... Happy Easter all... Lisa"

Edwin G -

U2 3D is excellent, playing here in Boston IMAX. Perfect for Easter (?)

Cynthia -

"Easter plans? Mom and I will have kielbasa, hard boiled eggs and babka in
the a.m. after church. Typical for us - not firm yet where we'll be.
Billy and his family, for the first time, will be going to Nancy's sister,
Suzanne's, in Worcester. Her other sister, Jane, and her family moved to
RI from AZ and this is their first Easter back "home". I was going to
have it anyway (used to have Nancy's Mom and Suzanne, but Gloria's passing
and Jane's arrival have changed that), but then Deb said she could have
it. Today I am getting Molly for an overnight and Deb mentioned that it
wouldn't be the same if she had it, so we might be back "on". We'll have
ham. Have all day tomorrow to decide!! We have egg hunt and now that 5
of the grandkids are older, we hide money eggs. Each one finds $10 total
in their eggs. Each one finds a particular color - Drew looks for only
blue, Sean only green, Molly only pink, etc. and there is one very well
hidden large egg with $20 in it. Keeps the older ones interested for
Molly's sake!"

"It will just be Rob and I for a good HoneyBaked ham after I sing at two worship services on Easter morning. (We also do two on Sat night). Will be a quiet afternoon, then on Tuesday Chris will arrive with his girlfriend Erin for the rest of spring break!. They will be in Burke, Va for this weekend, near you Terry! Libby will celebrate out in Sunnyvale, Ca, where it never looks as gray as it does here! Happy , Blessed Easter to you all

"Steve and I are really doing nothing for the first time ever! Justin has to work (bartending at a restaurant/tavern in Chappaqua), so I guess we'll go and have dinner there. I think Nick's coming too. Happy Spring everyone!! I stood an egg on its end, so I know Spring has really arrived...
Love, Gael"

"Up early to see what the Bunny has wrought. Then we'll be taking Emma into DC to catch her bus home in the morning, so M and I will stay in town, have a leisurely lunch, visit the Museum of American Art and the National Portrait Gallery, then head to the Smithsonian to see U2 3D. Grace is opting to hang home and savor the last day of spring break, but I'll plan on a nice, if late, dinner. Happy Easter to all! love,, Terry"

"It's beautiful down here right now - in the 70's and no humidity. I'll probably get my hands dirty and do a little gardening. I have several houseplants that also need some repotting.
Don't worry - the snow will melt by June. -- Pat"

"I'll be heading up to Stamford on Saturday to see Ed, Carolyn & John (and puppy?!), Barbara and Katie. Then, because I've had enough of this weather (though I know the northerners have it worse), I'm heading to Puerto Rico with my boyfriend on Wednesday for a few days. Can't wait!! -- Sarah"

"Our family Easter celebration was last weekend--all our kids, spouses, and kidlets--We had Saturday fun, both inside (coloring eggs with the kids about four dozen--thought of John's and his camouflage, or worse, ones he would bring to Babcia's!) and outside, on rip sticks, bikes, etc.,and a roast beef dinner.
On Sunday, after Palm Sunday mass with some of our grandchildren, we prepared for our annual Egg Hunt, and also Charlie's 5th birthday.
Jean's sister and brother came, with four more kidlets, and our neighbors came with their three. Great day, and fun. Weather cooperated, as there was no rain for the 2PM hunt. We still do candy, stickers, etc. and pennies, dimes, etc. some quarters--party favors as well. Had kielbasa, dips, cheeses, ham, sweet potatoes and apples, homemade mac and cheese (which Jean's sister brought--absolutely delicious) chicken, salad, etc. Birthday cake of course, along with homemade fudge and cookies, which Jean's sister made too!
Deedee and her gang headed to Florida yesterday, to see Jim's folks. School vacation next week.
Church last night, today, and tomorrow into Sunday--I think the word is Tridiuum, the three day commemoration of Jesus, His Suffering and His Resurrection
Love to all, and be safe!

Jim, the boys, and I barreled down on Thursday afternoon to Siesta Key, Florida, 1250 miles, 20 hours. . .sang our own version of the Beatles "We all live in a Honda Odyssey, a Honda Odyssey, a Honda Odyssey."  Had a Red Bull for the first time, and although it tasted like liquid Smarties, it did keep me awake for my 2-4:30 a.m. driving stint.  We just returned from the Easter Vigil at St. Michael's.  We're visiting Jim's parents, whom we haven't seen since July.  Palm Sunday, we headed to New Canaan, where Ed/Jean and the boys, and Woody/Stacie and the kids and celebrated our Easter.  We left our Jetty with "Noonie and Grampie," and she's having lots of fun in Grampie's woods learning how to be a real dog.  Rained today, but boys swam in pool all day with their "girlfriends" from Michigan, New Jersey, and Wisconsin.  Same families come to visit their respective grandparents each year, so it's fun here.  They now stay connected all year via email--and have a great pseudo-cousin relationship. 
Happy Easter to all!  We won't be doing an egg hunt this year, but hope to catch some fish tomorrow afternoon!  To prove the big one didn't get away, I'll have to snap pictures. . . .
I hope the new cousin babies and newlyweds have a very special first Easter! 

I am very late to the Easter table but wanted to pitch in here anyway!  Russ stayed over nite before bearing brownies (thank you Lisa!) and as we got ready to go in the a.m. up to Marblehead (the boys had been up till 3 or so playing video games) I thought agan, how nice it is to have Russ around. He is so sweet and funny and considerate. 
On Saturday we went to my sister's in Marblehead., MA. We arrived to find my niece Nicole conducting an egg hunt on the front lawn in a pink flowered dress and straw hat in 40 degree weather with a stiff wind blowing. 15 or so young men and women looking for 25 eggs .... Some of the "eggs" had an alcoholic component as I understand it.
On Sunday we all went to Our Lady Star of Sea in Marblehead (they have one too, as well as Stamford). I haven't been with my siblings at Easter mass  for over 40 years. The pastor was so down to earth and knew that Easter brings a lot of "non-regulars" into his church but he was so welcoming as if to say -" this is nice I have a bigger audience/party!". 
And I understood as if for the first time during mass -  Jesus' mission - that death, his death,  brings resurrection and the promise of eternal life to all mankind.  As Andee put it so beautifully in her condolence note to me in re my mom - with Easter comes the promise of resurrection.  
And thank you all for your notes and messages of caring - I have been extremely blessed in terms of family.
Love Regina


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Polish Heritage Day at Mariposa Museum

Polish Heritage

I was lucky enough to get outfitted up as a winged hussar. Hetman Stefan Czarniecki led calvary units in the service of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth from 1650-1665. He fought the Turks, Cossacks, Tartars and Moscovites. In 1659 he drove out the invading Swedish Army.

The Commonwealth was a multi-national kingdom stretching across much of Central Europe. Polish styles of arms, armor and military costumes was influenced by both the East and West.

The presentation was given by a re-enactment troupe The Czarniecki Division . The feathers are not just decoration. Apparently the sight of winged men attacking would have a profound effect on both the invaders and their horses.

Click on the photo to see the rest of photos taken at the event.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Tina on the Beach

By Terence Poltrack

The fans didn’t work, and it was already hot at 6:00 a.m. as the boys sat slumped in the no. 11 bus. CD dozed against Denny’s shoulder, occasionally jerking awake, only to repeat the cycle. Denny killed time watching the streaming images from his window of shops and gas stations and neighborhoods, choosing which house he’d most like to live in, sometimes examining his own face or secretly spying on other passengers.

Only a few others rode with them, mostly Key & Lock night laborers just off their shifts. They looked worn out. Denny couldn’t sit still.

He and CD had attracted attention when they first boarded. Denny blond, pale, thin, 12 years old, CD just slightly shorter, darker though, and all of 7. Two boys on their own, wearing mismatched clothing, carrying brown paper bags, towels over their shoulders. Even the most passive passengers eyed them. The driver hesitated.

Hey, now, where’s your Aunt Janie? Does she know where you’re at?”

They were regulars on the bus to Porter Beach, but always later in the day, and Janie always accompanied them, dressed fully as if going to work, a suit, heels and stockings, a shiny purse. She’d sit quietly as they rode, then see them through the gate on arrival; wait for them to change into the cheap, synthetic suits that embarrassed Denny by their snugness; settle them on some visible spot on an old blanket; and then position herself on the pavilion in the shade, sipping her Coca Colas slowly, chain smoking, idly watching the water and the gathering mayhem of a summer’s load of children on the small stretch of sand.

Exactly 90 minutes after arriving, she’d take off her shoes and wander down to the boys, their sign to collect their things, hide their disappointment, and begin the reverse trip home.

Yesterday, though, their dad had announced that Denny was old enough to make the trip without troubling Jane, and not wanting him to go alone, said CD could go along. The two of them were inseparable anyway. Larry, Denny’s 19-year-old brother, could pick them up when he got off his grocery shift at noon.

The request to leave so early, though, took dad by surprise.

Is the beach even open that early?”

Yeah, dad, that’s when the lifeguards start.”

But what’s the rush? The sun isn’t even high yet.”

Denny struggled, then let it out.

The movie.”

It was all the talk among the kids. They were actually going to make a movie at the beach, a teen-age movie with music.

Oh, yeah, right. I saw that in the paper. Jeez, I don’t know…will they even let you in?” He sipped his coffee, took a bite of the last remaining piece of the cake Grandma had sent on Sunday.

They actually want people to show up, dad, Even kids. To fill the beach, as extras.”

And that was how Denny, CD in tow, arrived at exactly 6:34 a.m., Tuesday, July 16, 1963, at Porter Beach on Long Island Sound. The trucks were already there, as were dozens of people wandering around in groups, animated, pointing, building sets, looking through each of the cameras already on booms, swinging them this way and that, making them look like T-Rexs.

Why are we here so early?” CD whined. “Why couldn’t we show up later with the normal people?”

Shut up and learn something,” Denny said. He made CD put on his sweatshirt against the surprising cool of the morning breeze off the water, then took a deep breath.

No one took any notice of them, though he and CD had a bit of a scare when the gatekeeper wasn’t sure if they could, in fact, come in unattended. Luckily, he couldn’t figure it out and couldn’t find anyone who could, so, in teenage fashion, he just shrugged them through.

Men were building a stage platform on the old pavilion, a low, wide and weathered structure of natural wood with pine green trim painted thick with layers of summers, pock-marked and chewed but again shiny. They had roped off the prime sitting area, which could become a problem, Denny thought, as there wasn’t a lot of room to begin with. It was a very modest beach, narrow if long, a poor second cousin to the more expansive and developed one across the channel. It was the only one the crew could get for the shoot.

Denny gravitated towards the channel’s far end, as it afforded good views of the beach lengthwise, ensuring he could take it all in. Besides, the channel was the place to swim for anyone truly interested in getting wet. The sandy banks fell fast, the water deeper and colder.

The beach filled up fast now, everyone more agitated than usual, all keeping one eye on the pavilion. CD curled into a ball on his towel and tried to recover some sleep. Denny waited.

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls!”

The voice screeched from the tinny loudspeakers, and everyone fell dutifully silent. “We’re gonna have some fun today, but we’ll need your help. We have a lot to do, so please, follow directions closely and don’t interfere with the crew. Do whatever they ask. Now, first thing, we need some crowd scenes, so anyone interested in being a star, come on over to the pavilion.”

Denny bounced up. “Here we go, kid.”

CD blinked awake and looked at his brother, the whole thing finally sinking in. “For real?”

Let’s hope so.”

The guy Denny assumed was the boss, a striking looking guy with those cool sunglasses Denny knew from in magazine ads, stood on the stage and nursed the mike to try and get some order. “OK, now, everyone get behind the cameras.”

The crowd, mostly teenagers, a few kids, a mom or two, continued to goof around, obviously in a high mood.

Now, folks, you gotta calm down. I need you to use your imaginations. Our monster is just behind you, and you are trying to get away. You can’t be laughing, OK? You’re scared.”

What does he look like?” someone yelled.

Well, we haven’t finished building him yet” the director said with a laugh as he exchanged looks with the crew. “Just picture something big, slimy, lizard-like…and mad!”
Denny could see him.

When I say go, I want you to run like crazy toward the shore. And whatever you do--please!--don’t look back into the cameras. Are we ready on the cameras one and two?”

The operators of each gave a thumbs up.

OK. Let’s do this. On three. One. Two. Three. Action!”

A roar went up, and everyone took off, Denny and CD among them, doing all they could not to burst out laughing at the sheer rush of it all. It was the most exciting thing that had ever happened to Denny, he was sure of it. The noise at first scared CD, so Denny slowed his pace and flashed him a look. CD got it, and the two of them took off in a race.

It went on like that for the next hour. They ran away from the camera. They ran into the camera. They ran out of the water. They ran across the beach. The screamed themselves hoarse, and none it ever lost the magic for Denny. When it was time to shoot some dance scenes, Denny and CD were judged too young to be in the shots, so they found a spot on the railing to watch. A bad imitation of the Ventures, all dinky guitars and snare, hit the first notes, and the cast immediately went into carefully choreographed routines of twisting, touching, turning, as sexy as things could get without causing the producer grief. CD even got off the rail at one point and did a dance of his own, writhing Elvis-like and creating enough of a distraction to get busted by a crew member.

OK, folks, break,” the director yelled. “Cameras, let’s do the set ups. Folks you can all go back to your blankets and help make the beach look like any other summer day.”

Denny and CD turned to oblige, thinking of their peanut butter sandwiches, then sensed a change in everyone’s attention and turned to see what the commotion was about.

She wasn’t anyone you’d recognize, this being a low budget teen flick, but when Tina hit the beach, stepping from the woman’s changing room, trailing a bevy of production assistants, everyone stopped to watch. All the school drones and would-be hoods, the moms with kids, the guy at the hot-dog stand…they all followed Tina Daniels as she made her way to the shore.

She was very pretty, but in a bad-girl kind of way, making her all the more attention-worthy. Her dark teased hair was held back by a band of scarf whose ends trailed down between her shoulders. She wore a lot of make up, but somehow shone through it rather than relying on it. Her two-piece bathing suit, while modest for the time, fit her just so, and she smoked her cigarette with a Hollywood self-awareness that insisted on being noticed. She appeared oblivious to the looks, to the chattering of the folks in tow. The boss joined her midway, and they entered the roped off area locked in discussion.

Denny felt a curious guilt as he watched her make her way across the beach. “Let’s go. I want to see this.”

He and CD headed for the shoreline and wiggled their way to the front of the ropes.

Tina had finished her cigarette and was standing at the water’s edge about 10 feet from where the two boys stood. As the techies positioned the cameras around her, Tina laid down on the wet sand and arranged herself as she imagined a beautiful victim of mayhem to appear. Half in, half out of the water, the tiny waves ebbing back and forth. The director stood directly over her, faming with his fingers, and she reacted to his instructions by moving a leg this way, turning her arm just so. As the director took his position behind the scene, a prop person arrived and dribbled a stripe of chocolate syrup on Tina’s neck.

What the…,” Denny whispered out loud.

Blood, in black and white,” the kid next to him answered with an all-knowing attitude. “Able to stand up to the water.”

CD, bored now, wanted to go back to the blanket and sat down on the sand to wait Denny out. Denny didn’t notice..


The cameras slowly moved in on Tina. The closer they got, the more Denny lost control of his breath. His heart raced. His head went light, his body, heavy. He couldn’t take his eyes off of Tina, the lapping water, the oozing syrup now spreading cross her throat. Without really thinking about it, he walked into the water past the crowd, then towards Tina very slowly, hands slightly out from his side, his gaze one of confusion, almost pain.

What the hell…hey, kid…”

No, no, let him. We might be able to use this.”

Denny stopped at Tina’s feet and froze until, sensing a change in light, she opened her eyes, startled to find him there. She sat bolt upright.

Is he supposed to be here?”

As they left the beach, CD couldn’t stop talking, exhausted, over-excited, as Larry peppered him with questions. Denny remained quiet, holding the day in, afraid to say anything at all in case the events would somehow evaporate, that feeling would somehow fade. He didn’t see Tina, with a couple of girlfriends, getting into a convertible. They gave Larry and his bow tie a look-over as if he was an alien, but then Tina spotted Denny.

You alright? That was some move, kid. You spooked me,” she said smiling, putting one hand on his shoulder. “Tommy, the director, thinks it might work.” She turned to Larry and held out a hand. “Tina,” she said. “Is he your brother?” They made small talk, none of which Denny can remember but which clearly befuddled Larry.

A horn beeped, and the moment ended. “Well, gotta go bye-bye.” She waved her fingers and headed for the car with a studied walk, then turned her head. “Hey, see you at the drive-in!”

Larry let out a long, quiet whistle. “I have to get to the beach more often,” he said. Denny shot him a glance, and Larry studied him for a moment. “Huh. What do you know,” he said with a smirk.

Let’s go home.”

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Polish Heritage Day - Mar 15, 2008 Peterborough NH

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What:Polish Heritage Day
Polish Heritage Day featuring The Czarniecki Division- The Legendary Polish Calvary. Program will include re-enactment, storytelling by Sharon Woods, slideshow, crafts, and food samples!
When:Saturday, March 15, 2008 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Where:Mariposa Museum
26 Main Street
Peterborough, NH 03458   USA

Thursday, March 06, 2008

"45 LIVE" featuring our own CJP on guitar

What:Dancing with the stars
45 LIVE the band "Where memories survive and Dreams Don't Die" are appearing at the Knights of Columbus on Saturday March 15th, 2008. The Knights of Columbus is located at 507 Shippan Avenue, Stamford, CT (203)964-1492. The band usually begins around 9:15 or so and will be playing until around 1:00 am. Come on out to dance and relive your memories of the Best of the 60's, 70's and 80's.
When:Saturday, March 15, 2008 9:00 PM to Sunday, March 16, 2008 1:00 AM
507 Shippan Ave
Stamford, CT


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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Enough of Winter

Tunnel of Ice A few 50 degree days and this will be 1/8 gone Waiting for a letter from warmer climes Finally we are getting a break from winter with today's relatively warm 38 degree rain. The snow banks were getting to be daunting. I thought I had it bad in New Ipswich until I visited my mother. She has a tunnel to get to the garage.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Superbrain Yoga and my mental state

As an elder, I'm a card carrying member of AARP , and I'm a regular reader of the member magazine "AARP The Magazine" (clever name isn't it?). The magazine used to be called "Modern Maturity" and featured advertisements for hearing aids, bunion pads and devices to hoist you out of chair. Now that the boomers have arrived they have articles about sky diving, and visiting foreign lands.

The March/April edition had an article "Get smarter with a simple yoga move" which I wanted to share with the family. I've noticed that I keep getting dumber each year. I misplace my glasses and allow squirrels to outsmart me with bird feeder management. Can a simple yoga movement bring me any relief?

My sister has diagnosed me with Asperger's Syndrome . My sister is not a doctor, but she does read a lot of books about maladies and she's pretty clever about these things. I was pleased to see that "Superbrain Yoga" was being used to treat forms of autism. A quick Google search of "superbrain yoga" found a video demonstrating the technique. I tried it and was easily able to add this blog posting. I even feel smarter. After you view this, grab your ears and start squatting (Exhale coming up). Once a day

Friday, February 01, 2008

Tired of Winter yet? I know that I am..

Tabblo: Winter in New Hampshire

About this time of year it would be nice to see a rose growing outdoors ... See my Tabblo>

Monday, January 28, 2008

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

January Birthdays

January Birthdays

Another year already? Time to start over with the Birthday comments. Hope everyone had a great Christmas break. It's time to get down to the business of gathering our shoeboxes of financial records in time for our tax forms. Yuck! I'd rather browse through the catalog of family photos.

There are going to be repeats this year. I've joined MySpace and Facebook to gather a few more photos of our youngest generation. For the oldsters like myself there is always EONS (check it out). The digital revolution is well underway and digital photography has unleashed millions of photos. The challenge is now to be an editor. I hope to have a few creative surprises in 2008. So if you have good family photos, send them along or (preferred) send a link to your Online Album.

This posting is meant to be a gathering place for family comments for the January birthdays. It is less intrusive than email but sometimes email can be fun (as Lisa noted), especially when we drift into random thoughts.