International Night

This is an event at the kids school that took place on January 17th.  Morgan was one of the ringleaders on this activity!  They had international activities (dancing etc) in the cafeteria and along the hallways they had tables that represented various countries.    These may have food, displays, projects etc.   Morgan’s parents did the table for Israel.

Morgan had ask me about doing something with Radio and we ended up with a world map at the table and a DStar Radio Station which gave us the best chance for International Contacts.  The idea was have the radio contacts and then the kids could put push-pins in the map where we talked.   We managed, Canada, US Ireland, England, New Zealand and Australia.

I had fun and I think the Program was well received….

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My New New Years!

Wow, all I can say is I made the right choice…  I do not know if this will be the future of my New Years but it sure was great for this year, a year of 1sts…   All without my Beloved, 1st Anniversary, Fathers Day, Mothers Day, Birthday, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Anniversary, Christmas and now New Years.

It was shortly after Thanksgiving when I realized what New Years would be, 2 days alone and miserable!  I had plans to deal with all the other days but had not considered New years.  I sat here at home, looking at the walls and telling myself that I could not deal with that..  over and over…

I was on the Motorcycle Touring Forum and saw that there was a Ride to eat in Brooksville, NW of Tampa.  I decided to go, take Maggie and make a Road trip out of it.   I looked up a bunch of people, many of which I had not seen in years and planned an 8 day trip.

day 1, met a friend for breakfast then arrived in Brookville and stayed with a friend… Fred and barbara Jewell, we met back along 2001 in NH with Rolling Thunder.  Had a great visit and Barb fixd us all a nice Turkey dinner.

day 2, Went to the MTF event at the Coney, ate outdoors with Maggie and 15 others.  Saw several that I had not seen in years.

Day 2 ended in Largo staying with friend for 3 days.  I went to a friends daughters house for a New Years Eve gathering and knew her and her daughters from NH.  Really enjoyed and kept me and my mind occupied.

day 3, took my friend to breakfast and then went and visited my granddaughter Jessie at her work in St Pete.  She works at IHOP and made me proud, she would have made Lyn so proud too!

Day 4 my host worked and I did some work on her Computer, then went and visited Jess and her family at her new Mobile home.  It was really nice to get to visit and spend some time with her, Rob and Tyson.   That evening, found out my cousins Son has a restaurant in Largo so went there for dinner!

Day 5, back on the road, headed to Kissimmee to see my friend Wayne and Connie from NH, had not seen them since about 2004.   Wayne was working so I visited with Connie until he got home.  We went out to dinner at a sports Bar & Grill that had patio seting so Maggie could join us.  Really had a great visit with them and Maggie snuck off to sleep with them!  🙂

Day 6, headed SE to Hobe Sound Near West Palm.  I would spend the day and night with Patty Taggert and her husband Steve.  Patty was my brothers 1st wife and I always liked her.  Other than his funeral, it has been like 2000 since we have seen each other.  What a great visit and we enjoyed a nice dinner in town.

Day 7 I traveled again, this time heading North to Titusville where I met with Randy Stallings.  Last time I saw Randy was when I went to Florida tp pick up my Gold Wing in 2004.  I met him at his work and then we went to lunch.  It was great seeing him.

I finished off day 7 by heading off to Ormond Beach near Daytona.  I stayed with Scott Newell, last saw him somewhere around 2010.  He and his wife moved to Florida and he also lost his wife about a month after Lyn passed.  We shared stories, went out to dinner and then in the morning (Day 8) grabbed breakfast at a biker bar on the way out of town.

I so enjoyed the trip, having Maggie along and getting to see so many people that were all a part of my life.

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Christmas and Beyond…

With all the apprehension about the holidays, they turned out quite well.  As I mentioned, Xmas Eve turned out better than expected…    Xmas day was Very Nice!   Scott and Morgan came over with the kids…   we opened the stockings, and then the gifts.  Lots of family Holiday Fun.  Morgan prepared a full ham dinner which we enjoyed and we closed it out with a Chess Game with Jackson.  I won but he has really improved..

The 26th and 27th, I had meetings with old friends in the area…   that was enjoyable and now am preparing for my New Years trip to Florida…

 

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Xmas Eve

Here is a little something I wrote the morning of Xmas Eve….

Morning Everyone… Xmas eve is here… Have a few last minute things to get done around here before Santa arrives. (NO, NOT shopping!) pick up in the dining area so we can all eat tomorrow, put a way the laundry and finish washing some pillows.

I expect Xmas Eve to be a bit rough… It was always Lyn’s and my time for each other as we tended to make the morning for the kids. We usually did our gift exchange tonight. In counseling, we always talk about “have a plan” for those times we may not do so well (such as my Florida trip over New Years!)

My Plan…. Not let it get me today…. I am going to spend the day being thankful for that which I have, not that which I lost. Oh yes, there is a void, a hole in my heart…. But I am still Blessed

Over 40 years with the best woman I could ask for, today is a day to remember her…. Including many great Xmas memories over the years… Later I will revisit the memories of the photos of Xmas’s Past and remember …

The memories of Scott Leesa Sharon and Joe growing up and the great people they have become… and Xmas’s past..

Memories of my family, Mom, Dad and 2 brothers also gone to Heaven… But oh the times we have had… and of course my 2 sisters who I was blessed to spend time with at Thanksgiving. Also Inman’s, Labelle’s and David, long time friends from Michigan who I also saw at Thanksgiving… These are special people in my Life..

Cannot forget my extended families, the Hydromation Gang in Michigan and my Rolling Thunder Family in NH. Who can forget the love and support from this folks over the years but especially as I traveled that rough road.

I am blessed with the best neighbors anyone could want in Michole and her family… such love and caring for me and Lyn .. and of course my Ham Radio family here, always been here for me too.

I have 3 gifts under the tree… one form Sharon’s Family (already opened the one from Joe & Leesa’s family) and 2 from a longtime close friend… I think I will try and open them tonight to fill that void of our previous Xmas Eve exchanges….

and last… Surely not least…. I am blessed to be near Scott & Morgan and their children. I likely would not have a tree had they not come out to help me decorate (as we did with Lyn) and so lucky to get to spend Xmas day with them … watch the kids open gifts and share a Xmas meal that Morgan is preparing.

So to sum up this long winded spewing of words… Yes, I am hurting bad… my heart is broken but God has blessed me with so much that I need to remember and be thankful for… Including my life and Memories with Lyn.

So…  How did this work out???   I had my moments but it went well…   I played some Radio and got confirmed SC on a Digital Mode.  It was the last one I needed for 2 more Worked All States Endorsements!

Later I opened a gift from Sharon and her family, a beautiful Memorial Wind Chime. The words on the memorial feather are so appropriate.. Thanks to Sharon, Rick, korey, Alissa and Ashley. Lyn loved sitting in the yard and we both enjoyed the wind chimes (3 different sets) that we had in the yard…  Every Chime will remind me that Lyn is with me..

That evening I opened a gift from a friend, a dome to house the Ornament Scott and Family got me so that it is protected and can stay on display all year…

I spent the rest of the evening looking at old photos of Xmas’s Past and remembering..

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Tree Decoration

The kids came out the morning of the 15th…  Tree Time and Ornament Time…

I gave them each their new ornaments for this year and they were all very pleased.  Then they surprised me with an ornament…   It reads “Always In My Heart”   It brought tears to my eyes as I typed this but I really cried when they gave me this…

Anyway, here are some of the other pictures…    We had a nice time, I think adults and kids alike had fun!

 

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41st Anniversary

Or, should I say, it would have been..   December 13th was a rough day to spend alone.  Well, I was not totally alone…  I had Maggie and I am sure Lyn was was with us in Spirit.

We went down to the Cemetery and spent some time, visiting, talking to her, letting her know how much we missed her.   I talked quite a bit about how I was handling things etc.

Maggie and I, as we usually do, stopped by and spent a little time at the dog park.  Being a week day, there were no other small dogs so we had some quiet time together..

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Xmas Tree is up!

December 11th, still do not know when the kids are coming to decorate the tree but I put it up today.  It actually looks nice.  Stockings are hung by wrapping paracord and I ordered a skirt for the bottom…

Time to decorate!

 

 

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This Years Ornaments

Each year since we moved here, we have been buying ornaments for the kids for Xmas.  This tradition was started by Lyn, and though I am not really feeling Xmas this year, I had to continue this for the grand kids and for her.  We have been buying them for a few years from the same place and I ordered them before Thanksgiving.   They each have the childs name, year and represent something that they are into.

I was pleased with how they came out this year….    and believe the kids will like them!

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Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a Tradition, we go home to Michigan.   We missed last year as Lyn was too sick to travel and now she is gone.   I felt a need to face it head on and go home for the Holiday, knowing it would have “moments”.  Let me say, the “moments” were there but overall it was a good trip and I am so glad that I faced it and went.

I left on Sunday and drove through to Lexington where I stopped for the night.  I had hoped to get closer to Cincinnati but I was feeling tired and knew it was time.  Earlier in the day, stopped around Knoxville to see my old friend from NH, Frank Emiro.  Really nice to take a break and catch up with him.

Overall, did ok on day 1, until until I parked my bottom in the room for the night.  The emotions started.. I really alone and someone “empty”.   Not sleeping well, I got an early start on Monday.   Monday’s drive went well in spite of hitting some snow around Dayton.  Stopped in a rest area to stretch and then continued.

I drove out  of the snow fairly quickly and had reasonably fair sailing the rest of the way in.  I checked in at the motel and they actually had a room ready early so I was able to check in around noon.  I basically relaxed the rest of the day.

Tuesday I drove around a bit, visited the old neighborhood, had breakfast at Rams Horn on Telegraph then visited David in his store on Van Born.   We had a really nice visit, just the 2 of us and I hung out there till 4:00 when I headed back to the room.  My daughter Sharon and Ashley stopped by and we went to dinner at a nice Mexican Restaurant.  I had a Burrito San Marcos, ironic as Lyn was born and raised in San Marcos.  I saw that and I had to order it!   By the way, there was fresh snow when I got up that morning!!  (and of course no scraper)

Wednesday I drove out to my sisters place, visited with her, Paul and Grace while they made pies.  We had a nice visit and reminisced about old times and looked at old photo’s.  It was nice to get some quality time with her, usually it is in a larger group…      When I finished up I drove back to the Motel with plans for dinner with Inmans and Labelles.  Just before arriving back, got a text from Pat Inman that they had arrived (they were staying in the same motel).  Right after, the sun was in my eyes and I lowered the visor and saw Lyn’s picture on the Funeral Memorial.   I kept one in the visor.   Now it was a “moment” as I thought how Inmans could not attend so I would stop at their room, say hi and give that to her.  I broke out crying, realizing this is the 1st time in all these years of visiting that I will greet Pat & Don without Lyn…    one of my hardest moments of the trip.

We finished the evening with a really nice dinner and visit with them and Tom and April.  Tom lost his wife 5 years ago and recently re-married.  Nice to visit with her and all the others.

Thursday, Thanksgiving Day!   Went to breakfast with the Inmans at our old haunt Rams Horn on Wayne Road, forgot all about that place.   Then headed out for Thanksgiving Dinner hosted by my sister.  It was at the clubhouse at her condo and worked out real well, we watched the Lions lose…  visited relatives and had a great meal, Ham, Turkey and all the fixins.  We had like 16 folks there so it was really good…   I enjoyed it very much…  though it was the first ever without Lyn.   All the family made it good…

Friday breakfast with Inmans at one of their old haunts that we usually visit when in town.  Then I went and spent the afternoon out to Joes.  We had a nice visit, watching some football and the Tiger Phil match.

Saturday was a big day, very busy!!   In the morning, we had our Annual gathering of Ex-Hydromation Employees.   We all worked together until the company closed in 1989.  14 folks showed up which I thought was pretty good.  Maybe we can get a few more next year!  It was really nice seeing everyone…

Next we had our annual family lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings.  Had 14 show up here too!   We had a nice meal and each year we watch the Mich – OH State game.  This is always a good gathering.

We finished the day by heading over to Sharon’s place to visit.  Had a nice time hear with her and Rick and all the kids were here too.  Then it was back to the room to rest…   🙂

Sunday was our Cousins Lunch over at the Henahan’s House.  Thanks to Nancy and Pat for hosting this event..   we decided we needed to do this after my brother Tom died and we realized we only saw each other at Funerals.

I returned to the room and finished packing.  I took a nap as I decided I was leaving tonight (Sunday) and driving straight through to avoid the snow storm moving in Monday.  Getting on the road a bit after 11pm, I made it home by 4:30 afternoon on Monday.  That was one Long Drive!

 

 

 

 

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Education Update

As November is winding down, I thought I would take a minute to update everyone on my learning attempts”

  1.  Video Editing – I have been studying Davinci Resolve 15 via YouTube videos and progressed to a point that I can perform all the edits I did before but better and more efficient.  I have also learned some picture in picture methods with multi video tracks and also voice over with multiple Audio tracks.   There is still so much more to learn in this.   I enrolled in 2 online courses over Thanksgiving for this software, one of them being drone specific.  (they were on sale for $10)
  2. FAA Part 107 – I finished the original course and had passed enough practice tests that I was all set to take my FAA Test but could not get a session before Thanksgiving.   I decided to study further and not rush, I do not need the Certification but rather want it for the educational value.  Though I was passing the practice, there were 2 areas I did not know Well.  I decided to study those further when I get home until I know them well, then schedule my exam.
  3.  A Free Class – as part of Udemy Black Friday, if you bought a class, you got a Free one.  Since I bought the video editing I have to select one today.  It will be drone related.
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Lyn’s Brick

This is a 2nd Brick, this time in NH.  This brick that was placed in the NH State Veterans Cemetery to Honor Lyn.   Rolling Thunder Inc. New Hampshire Chapter 1 has a section where they remember those who passed, members who worked for Veterans. Lyn sure Qualified!! I attended the Memorial in September but her brick was not yet ready. Thanks to Rolling Thunder Inc. New Hampshire Chapter 1 for the Brick and to my Dear Friend Janice Skimaldi for the followup and sending me the picture.

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November Photos

November was a lighter photo month as I was working on my FAA Exam, doing videos and getting ready to head to Michigan for Thanksgiving.   I did manage to enter a few of the weekly Challenges…

 

These are some of my Challenge Entries!  (Empty Road – Abstract – Foot)

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Photography Update

I am still staying reasonably active with my photography…   still love the refuge and doing wildlife and nature (includes floral, scenic) and I try and participate on the weekly challenge on the Nikon Forum.  I am also doing video with the drones and able to extract still images from the video.

Floral

Wildlife


Contest Themes

Patterns                                             Reflection

       Lone Tree                                      Abstract


My Favorite Shot that I took in October

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Education

I have decided to do some more Education!  I am a firm believer that one must try and keep the brain active.  To that end. I have started two new projects…

  1.  Video Editing – I have been using Microsoft Movie Maker and decided I wanted some more features and a better package.   After considerable research, I settled on Davinci Resolve which is a FULL featured package but also will take a lot of study to get familiar with.  It will be worth it
  2. Drone Certification – For Commercial flying you are required to be FAA Certified to Part 107 of the code.  I have enrolled (as of this morning) in an online course to prepare me for the Certification Exam.  I researched this extensively and ended up going with Drone Launch Academy.  My friend Chad used them for his Certification and he runs an AV business and does a lot of Drone work.
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Drone II

I had so much fun with the Spark that I decided I needed to upgrade…    I chose the DJI Mavic Air.   It folds up as small as the Spark but it is larger, heavier, more power and also more stable.  The camera does 4k video and there is an assortment of other features including front and rear sensors and obstacle avoidance.   I have put my original Phantom 3 up for sale and will be keeping the Spark and Mavic Air.

Here is the Kit I just got……

Here is a picture of all 3 Drones together…

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