family


28
Dec 19

The rare weekend post

On our tramping about town today, a day in which we tramped, we visited a local running store. This is a place where my mother-in-law picks us up nice things like, this year, a new blinkie for bikes and a couple of nice pairs of running socks. They were, today, having a sale.

I did not buy an aero helmet. But it looks pretty cool, right?

Or is this more my speed?

That one is probably more my speed. My speed being: slow, but fashionable.

Except on today’s run. I was fast! Well, for me. I guess? At this stage? It was fast? Ish? Question mark? I ran four-and-a-half miles, last run of the trip, and was about to get down into a respectable speed for a 5K when … a car pulled out without regard to looking left or, in my case, right, and almost hit me. I gave him A Look, which is different from The Look, because there were cars behind him, and if he’d received The Look those other cars would have been trapped behind the car with the lifeless body in the driver’s seat.

And somehow that nonverbal exchange cost me about 15 seconds, which kept me from getting the first 5K in recent-record time.

Or that’s the story I’m telling the sports historians anyway.

Here’s a look at Gray’s Creek, a gut where the fishing is apparently good, but not much else is said about it on the web. On one side is a short municipal golf course. On the other side of Gray’s is Hall Island, which is not really an island, but actually a spit:

There are 31 gorgeous houses and at least 12 pools on the non-island, which seems a pleasant place of residential bliss where nothing out of the ordinary has ever happened.

And here’s one last look of the Long Island Sound, from Compo Cove. It was a great week to run here:

Old neighbors came to visit. There were many laughs and complaints about the new Star Wars movie. We’ll go watch it soon, but first, this strawberry shortcake:

Tonight’s dessert, and the gag gifts that went with it, mark our last Christmas celebration of the year. You want them to continue. You want them to end gracefully and well. Dessert is a good way to do that.


27
Dec 19

Good pace, pizza and pucks

The holidays are over, the holidays continue. Christmas has a way about it, doesn’t it? So much build up, so much frantic build up in these shorter holidays years, and then you hit all of the parties and family fun and then … there’s that paper pile, your presents and the now empty tree. Good thing we’ve come to think of all of this time as being about the people, then. Good thing we’ve had the time to spend.

We are fortunate that way. It’s back home and back to work for most people, but we are able to enjoy an early start and a delayed ending to the holidays. So the holidays continue.

Nice run this morning. I ran around the park where The Yankee played as a child, where we took our engagement pictures in a nor’easter 11 years ago last week. It’s much warmer today, thanks. Also, the roads have been freshly paved.

We went to Pepe’s for pizza salad. They make the best salad pizza you can find anywhere.

Truly great stuff. And my in-laws were nice enough to bring us, and to share. They’re kind people that way.

Here’s Frank Pepe. He opened his first restaurant in 1925, after he ‘d come to the U.S., returned hom to fight in the Great War and then returned to America and found his way into the restaurant business. We’re dining at the third one, which opened decades after he died. The guy in this photo has no idea there are going to be a dozen stores bearing his name.

He started out making two pies and selling them off his head. And now here we are. The server did not bring out our pizzas on her head, which was a bit of a disappointment, but that was the only disappointment.

After dinner, a dilemma! We went to a minor league hockey game. The Wolf Pack at the Sound Tigers, in a battle of compound nicknames. The Sound Tigers are the home team, and a part of the Islanders organization. The visitors are in the Rangers farm system. You’d cheer for the home team, because they’re the home team. But this is a Rangers family. So this was a confusing time. A confusing time mollified by my new favorite past time.

Who knew they needed a go kart on ice? They ran this guy out in between segments of play and he was purely a stall. The promo was watching two guys race across the ice putting on a fire fighter’s turnouts. They were too fast, so this guy got to do his laps.

The Sound Tigers won 5-1. Also, it was teddy bear toss night, which was great fun to see. After the first goal people toss their new stuffed friends onto the cold, cold ice as part of a toy drive.

If only we’d known, we could have continued the giving. It should never end, after all.


26
Dec 19

The day-after-Christmas party

My in-laws have this perpetual calendar by their kitchen door. It’s the sort of thing where you swap out the month tiles and move the numbers to get right under the days of the week. It’s the sort of thing that a lot of people have, but let it quickly fall out of sequence within a month or three. But, in all the years I’ve known them this calendar has always been up-to-date. Even when you come downstairs into the kitchen on the first day of the month, it is ready to go. I imagine that appeals to my mother-in-law’s sense of order. It’s a thing she can keep nice and tidy, and keep her organized for the days ahead.

It was a gift, many years ago, from a beloved family friend, and that probably plays into it, too. And they have custom tiles for important events, which is another added feature she surely looks forward to every month. And, look! This year I got my own tile!

The Yankee’s god-brother-in-law’s mother made that one for me. And, the joke this year, is that it only took 14 years for me to earn it. I suppose they think I’m going to stick. Time, as the cliche says, will tell.

Anyway, today we had New Jersey Christmas. Every year we drive down to spend a day with the family folks. The Yankee’s god parents are lifelong friends of my in-laws. It’s a cute story, really. Bob and Nancy met a year after she finished nursing school. Her best friend in school was Marge. And when Bob and Nancy got married, Marge met Clem at their wedding. Bob and Clem have been friends since before they were in school. They’re all lovely and wonderful and it’s really neat to see people who’ve been in each other’s lives for so many decades. They all raised their daughters together, and they vacation together, just this summer taking an amazing trip through Canada. And they let us all invade their house at Christmas time.

We opened presents:

And dinner, which was homemade lasagna (so, if you’re keeping track, that’s ravioli on Christmas Eve, shrimp cocktail and prime rib for Christmas and shrimp cocktail and lasagna at New Jersey Christmas) and we had homemade poppers to go with it. My mother-in-law made these:

They had little prizes and puns inside. Here was mine:

And before the night was over the girls, the ladies, recreated their traditional pyramid picture:

Isn’t that awesome? Aren’t they beautiful? They’ve been doing this all their lives, literally. There are teeny tiny kid pyramid pictures at the beach, and one from every time they get together as adults, including each of the weddings, and one from from the shore this summer. So, of course, they also do them every Christmas. Someday we’ll have to guess how many there actually are.

We’re trying to get all the kids trained to do a super pyramid. It didn’t quite work out today. Maybe next year.


23
Dec 19

And another travel day

When last we spoke, gentle reader, we were in Alabama. Or we were leaving Alabama. Or had just left Alabama and were back in Indiana or were on the way. Or something. It’s difficult to keep it all straight this time of year, really. Now we are in Connecticut, for example.

It went like this. Shorts and t-shirts on cool Alabama winter days. Then two days of sun and snow in Indiana. Don’t believe me?

Saturday in Indiana:

Sloppy Saturday:

Still so very Saturday:

This was Sunday on the church’s property:

Then a before-the-sunrise flight to New York, where New York things happened. My in-laws picked us up and we had lunch at a Connecticut diner, before going for a run on the beach. This is today on the Long Island Sound, in Connecticut, looking back toward New York:

It seems improbable, really. And an awful lot of people were out to take advantage of the moment. And we had another December run in shorts and a t-shirt, this time in front of the Christmas cottage:

And now, most of the shopping has been done, most of the errands have been run and we look forward to beginning the Christmas festivities once again:

The many fine Connecticut traditions start tomorrow at dinner.


20
Dec 19

Travel day

I took this picture at the end of my run yesterday. The run was remarkable in its unremarkable-ness, and in its slowness. But for this, it wouldn’t be worth talking about at all:

If you think that sky is a winter rarity rather than the miracle of normalcy, I would encourage you to find a new, and better, frame of reference.

I also forgot to share a picture of BB. So here’s the lovely and wonderful BB, who’s still getting treats from the mail lady, and chasing red dots down the hall and chewing on a sock monkey and generally a lovely time with all of it.

We had to hit the road again, and we managed to almost time dinner in Nashville, so we stopped for some barbecue. It’s the right and delicious thing to do.

And we made it back to the house. Late … but not too late. Tired … but not too tired. Cold … but not too cold it was plenty cold.