"Crotty News" Postings for: December 2009 !

It's Almost Christmas !
    Paul & Dot's 42nd Anniversary is the 1st!     Evelyn Bourque's birthday is the 4th!     Wally & Adrienne's 52nd Anniversary is the 7th!     Mike's birthday is the 11th!     Rene's birthday is the 24th!     David Rowe's birthday is the 31st!

   And ... Of course ... Christmas is the 25th, so ... to all our family and friends around the world:     Merry Christmas!     Buon Natale!     Joyeux Noel!     Feliz Navidad !     Gledelig Jol !     Fröhliche Weihnachten !     Nadolig Llawen !     'ave a bonza Christy an' a beaut New Year, mate!     Gun Tso Sun Tan'Gung Haw Sun !     Shinnen omedeto. Merii Kurisumasu !

    Tuesday - 01 December - We got up at 5:00AM this morning! Dale scheduled for gall bladder surgery this morning. At the hospital around 6:15AM and doctor started the operation around 8:45. She was out by 9:30 and we were back home before noon -- Dale even had me stop at the Post Office to mail packages off :-) She's fine and moving about!     I've been having some problems with one of my computers. I should know better than to upgrade a program when the existing/older one is doing fine just like it is! I'm also working on new walls in Dale's Sunroom and one of the guest bedrooms. I've got the insulation and sheetrock in and have compounded the joints. Received a postcard from Katia today. She mailed it in Locorotondo (Italy) at the beginning of the summer but it must have dropped in a crack somewhere.

    Wednesday - 02 December - Karen and Chuck are coming over tonight. They are bringing Chinese food from a local restaurant (I love chinese food)! We will watch the "Angels and Demons" on a DVD. On Facebook, Tracey uploaded a video of Alana singing a solo (with a choir backup) at a school function. Great voice! Everyone is amazed because we didn't know that she could sing like that!

    Thursday - 03 December - Dale didn't sleep much at all two nights ago, but last night she slept the entire night. Today, she sent me to the post office, the bank, the electric company etc. and while I was gone she slept most of the morning and early afternoon until around 4:00PM. She's up and about now!

    Friday - 04 December - Just heard from Deanna in Nova Scotia that my Uncle Leo fell down his stairs in Malden (MA) some days ago. I didn't know anything about it. Uncle Ray (California) called Anna in Nova Scotia to tell her the news. I called Paul and he to check tomorrow to see what's what.

    Saturday - 05 December - Paul called. Uncle Leo did fall down the front interior flight of stairs , split his head open, [about 5am] was there for about 1-2 hours. a lot of broken fractured ribs and bones, internal bleeding, neck ligaments torn and strained. He was in Mass General Hospital and now in N.E. Rehab in Woburn. Then he will be in a nursing home for a while, then home. They say he is doing very good.. he lost about a pint of blood. I called my cousin Barbara and she told me that he's also wearing a neck brace. 93 years old! The doctors say that he's used up 7 of his 9 lives!     Oh yes ... I'm still Dale's slave as she recuperates from her surgery! :-)

    Monday -07 December - Pearl Harbor Day! Never Forget! It's starting to get chilly down here in Myrtle Beach. 50s and 60s, although in a few days it's supposed to get to 72 :-) I've been sanding the walls in Dale's Sunroom (I put up new sheetrock and insulation) and made a mess. White dust somehow got sucked into and all over the kitchen even though I thought I had taken precautions. I've been on vacuum and mop duty today! Enza Esposito notified me that she is now an "Auntie". Her brother Davide and his wife had a baby girl this morning, 11:15AM, in Naples, Italy. Named her "Marta".

    Tuesday - 08 December - For the last week I've been trying to get my PHOTOED.EXE program to work on the Dell Inspiron laptop that I purchased on E-bay. Finally found someone on the Internet who had the same problem and he sent me a file to fix the Registry. I was also able to read the contents of the file and copy required files from my other computers. It worked!

    Wednesday - 09 December - Chuck and I went to Broadway At The Beach tonight! "Free Pour" (free mixed drinks) at the Celebrations Night Clubs (Malibu, Club Boca and Froggy Bottomz)from 8:30PM to 10:00PM. Had a great time!

    Thursday - 10 December - In the evenings for the past few weeks I've been editing the pictures we took in September while in New England, Maryland and Nova Scotia. I finally finished them tonight and uploaded them to this web site (see PHOTOS). I am still working on the October photos.

    Friday - 11 December - E-mail from England. Nick Bradley-Carter's daughter-in-law notifed us that Nick had died today. We first met Nick and January at their gorgeous, regal Tudor home in Stratford Upon Avon in 1969. He was a member of the Royal Academy of Arts, and his paintings and water colors hung everywhere! Sumptuous gardens amid the history of a place like Stratford, and Nick had an art gallery very near the tourist block (Shakespeare's home etc). Dale and I had never met anyone like them. We were so impressed, and remained friends all these years! We probably have a good percentage of all the oil paintings that Nick did. He later painted only in water colors, and we visited him whenever we returned to England.

    We gave away a Krohler couch and a computer table to the Salvation Army today. I had it in my office and it was in really good shape, but it was too big for the spaces. Also very heavy, which is why I asked for them to pick it up instead of me lugging it over on my truck as I used to do (before back pain)!! We were going to give it to Goodwill but they said that they don't pick up anything unless it is "big". Don't know how "big" something has to be but that's their loss! I won't call them again for anything.

    Saturday - 12 December - PARTY TIME! Our neighbors the Morrisons are hosting a party at their house starting at 3:00PM, and afterwards we're going to Chuck & Karen's party which is being held at the Mager's house here in Hunter's Ridge! The Mager's house has lots of room! Dale's been cooking for hours (meatballs, etc).

    Tuesday - 15 December - I finally registered my boat trailer in South Carolina today! I had it built new in Florida and picked it up there on 01 June. I told the Florida registry of motor vehicles that I was going to register it in South Carolina, so they had me pay the SC sales tax rate instead of FL's, and said that I had to register it in SC within 45 days. I brought it into South Carolina that same day (01 June) but with all my back pain problems, I missed that deadline and thereafter I just procrastinated. Sure am glad to get that over with! I thought that SC might even make me pay the sales tax over again (in addition to a $75 penalty), since I was so late in registering it, but they didn't. Next Spring I need to get some major work done on the boat's I/O drive, and will then register it here in South Carolina. I've got it at a storage facility just down the road (only $25 a month fee). It's still titled/registered in Florida so there's no sense in registering it right now. I'd just be wasting money since it's going to be at least six months before I get it out on the water. Also heard from Aunt Dot and Uncle Bob in Kittery, Maine today (E-mail). Her computer has been on the blink for months. I sent her some more computer memory (RAM) and she had a friend install it. The friend was finally able to get her up and running.

    Wednesday - 16 December - Received an e-mail from the daughter of John Puzzini, a very old friend who we first met in England back in 1969. She found our e-mail address when Nick Bradely-Carter's daughter-in-law wrote to all of us about Nick's death. Apparently John died back in March. He was a good guy! We both loved Nick Bradley-Carter's paintings, although I know in his latter years John simply had them stacked up in his den :-) John had a prestigious position among the NSA officers assigned to GCHQ (Foreign Office) in Cheltenham. Dale and I were just starting our careers with NSA so we were somewhat low on the social totem pole, but he was friendly to and with everyone, regardless of position, rank, etc. As recent arrivals to England, our very first overseas tour, he and his wife took us under their wings. Through them we were introduced to a world we had only dreamt of, including a trip to Rudesheim, Germany, and a "fairy-tale-like" party at the Bradley-Carter's home.

    Thursday - 17 December - I've been spending too much time indoors, so today, even though it's a bit chilly, I got my leaf blower out and moved leaves from around the house and out of my gardens, onto the lawn. Then got my lawn tractor/mower and was able to mulch most of the leaves into the lawn (good source of nitrogen). However, the tractor is old and starting to give me trouble. It was barely running after an hour or so, so I wasn't able to finish mulching the piles of leaves on the side of the house. Oh well. I can rake them into bags, or just leave them there until Springtime :-)

    Friday - 18 December - Had my quarterly doctor's appointment this morning. My Lab work came back with good numbers once again. The doctor says I have to start losing some more weight and start exercising after the holidays (and St Patty's Day wasn't what he was talking about)! Dale and I went to the movies tonight and saw "A Christmas Carol". I liked it but wouldn't pay to see it again. Dale didn't like the human-digital animation.

    Saturday - 19 December - Went to the movies tonight (two days in a row!) and saw AVATAR. Excellent! Great graphics, and it was in 3-D. I still rememebr the first 3-D movies in the 1950s. I never thought that they would make a comeback but looks like they will! Karen & Chuck came over in the late evening after they had hit a few Christmas parties. The cable TV has been showing nonstop Christmas movies and Dale has been recording them on the cable DVR, and then recording the ones she wants to keep, on our own DVD recorder. So we watched "Secret Santa' until we all got too tired.

    Sunday - 20 December - Everyone got up late, so we watched the rest of Secret Santa and then opened a few presents. We did that because we're all (Karen & Chuck and Dale and I) going to be driving to Chuck's parents' house in Tennessee on Tuesday, and then we're going on to Kentucky to meet with Tracey, Alana, Mike and his parents for Christmas. We will leave the rest of our presents here, and open them when we come back at the end of the month. I'm now editing October photos to upload to this site. Dale out shopping and found some furniture she likes for her Carolina Room (sunroom). Drove over with the Dodge RAM and picked it up.

    Monday - 21 December - Finished editing the photos. I was going to winterize the boat today but got caught up trying to understand why I couldn't link (share) our printers to Dale's laptop, and my two desktop computers. Finally figured out the Firewall was the main culprit and I changed the settings, and then hours later discovered that I had to disable the firewall on Dale's computer before making any other technical changes on her computer (otherwise they really wouldn't "take"). I've been fighting this situation for weeks, trying to make it work. It's a good example of why professional Computer System Admins should be much more appreciated!

    Tuesday - 22 December - We're Off to Tennessee and Kentucky in the Dodge RAM. Karen & Chuck gave us a "Walkie Talkie" so we were able to communicate instantaneously all the way from Myrtle Beach to Fairfield Glade, Tennessee, where Chuck's parents live. I had packed a tow rope and shovel in case we ran into snowdrifts :-) An avalanche two months ago on Interstate 40 has closed a portion of that road between North Carolina and tennessee, so we have to take the back roads. We did see a lot of snow still on the trees and piled deep into the mountain valleys but we didn't have any problems.

    Wednesday - 23 December - Pat & Charlie fed us and put us up for the night at their home in Fairfield Glade, and today they took us around their community. Very pretty! Lots of beautiful community buildings (Rec center, Crafts Shop), lakes & woods and very nice homes, all the way into the millions :-) For our trip to Louisville, Kentucky, we decided to stay on the Interstates, so we drove by way of Nashville, in the mid afternoon. Arrived after dark and met Audra & John Kays, Mike's parents. They live in the eastern suburbs, just west of I-265. Lots of family (and us) staying there -- 13 people in all! Lots of room, with a huge playroom downstairs with air mattresses, couches, luggage, etc. all in a jumble.

    Thursday - 24 December - Stayed inside all day. Big fireplace and large screen TV in the den - nice and toasty :-) We saw Mike's kids off and on -- Chris, Brandon, Chelsea (with husband Eli & baby Nichela) and Catherine -- as they hit the Mall for last minute shopping. I had brought an acoustic guitar for Alana to play, and she did play a few songs that I'd like to learn myself, but she really surprised us by singing and playing the piano very well. It's amazing how much she has grown since we last saw her in person. We also didn't realize that she had kept up an interest in the piano. Wonderful! Mike's father, John, has several degrees (including a Phd), and one of them is a Masters in Music. For Christmas Eve he played Christmas Carols for all of us on the piano and also on a 100+ year-old organ that belonged to his grandfather (beautifully hand-crafted wood, with "leg-powered" bellows to produce the music)!! We all sang along, just like the "old days" in the 1950s at family get-togethers, back in Massachusetts, when Dale and I were growing up! Very nice. An Olde Christmas!

    Friday - 25 December - Merry Christmas Everyone! Everyone stayed up late last night so we really had a very leisurely morning as individuals eventually sauntered in to the kitchen, bleary-eyed, for coffee (We can confirm that Alana is NOT a morning person! :-) We all gathered in the front living room and took turns opening one present at a time, then watching the next person open one (etc etc). The baby was having a ball, and quickly learned how to rip the colorful Christmas wrappings off her presents! We spent the remainder of today, and the next day, taking it easy, watching TV, talking and generally having a good time. Eli (Chelsea's husband) is in the Army and has to fly all the way back to Puerto Rico just to "sign out" of the base, then return here before heading to his next base in Texas. Seems like the Army should have let them sign out before they left Puerto Rico for their Christmas Leave!

    Sunday - 27 December - We're off on the long drive (720 miles) back home to Myrtle Beach! And "everyone else" is also on the road today! Mucho traffic! We decided to take Interstate 64 East to Charleston, West Virginia, and then head South on Interstate 77 through Virginia and North Carolina, then East on Interstate 20 to Florence, SC (etc). We hit a very bad patch of traffic in the mountains of Virginia on I-77S. Almost two hours of driving at speeds averaging 20 miles-per-hour! It turned out to be a partially-disabled car driving with his flashers on in the break-down lane. Of course this meant that all the gawkers had to stomp on their brakes and take a look, thus continually backing up traffic for miles (and hundreds and hundreds of cars)!! It took us 13 and a half hours to get home! I should have retraced our detour route (on the way up) around the avalanche instead, and saved ourselves hours!!

    Monday/Wednesday - 28-30 December - Just "lazing about" in the house, doing minor chores. Did some more joint-compound work on the walls in the Sunroom (whoever built the Sunroom years ago did a terrible job - the sheetrock had "slap-dash" workmanship). Dale's catching up on mail and bills. It's going to get down into the 20s in the evenings for several days in a row (unusual for South Carolina) so I've retrieved some garden stuff and put it into the shed, and moved pots of geranium inside (on the porch) to keep them alive. Dropped by to "winterize" the boat but found that most of the water in the engine probably had sloshed out the I/O drain on the trip up here back in June, so it's OK.

    Thursday - 31 December - New Year celebrations tonight! We've been invited to a party by friends in Conway. Bonfire! Fireworks (they are legal here)! Food and drink! Dale voluntered to be the Designated Driver :-) Actually I think I only had two small Margaritas and a beer the whole night, but still had fun! When Midnight hit we were all jammed into a room making noise, and our hosts had us parade outside (probably to make sure that the rural neighbors knew that it really was 2010!) We received text messages on cellphones about police roadblocks in the area, but we didn't see a single roadblock on the way home!


Love,     &nbs;       Regards,
Dad & Mom     &nbs;       Barry & Dale