"Crotty News" Postings for:

    Happy New Year !!!   
      Good Riddance 2009!   Hellooooo 2010!   We made it!   Wow! We're going to live forever, right?

   Well, let's see what's happening this month!  My mother, Pauline Amirault Crotty, would have been 86 on the 8th!  Nephew Joey Wedge's birthday is the 12th!  Cousin Deanna Bourque's birthday is the 14th!  Old friend Gordon Heasman (in England) will be 83 on the 17th!  Friends Don & Sue Smith's anniversary is the 22nd!   Daughter #1 Kathy's birthday is the 23rd!!   Dale's mother, Helen Walsh Wedge, would have been 89 on the 26th!  Friend Mike Sipe's birthday is the 28th (he's now living in Kailua, HI)!

    Friday - 01 January - Got home in the early A.M. Went to bed around 2 or 3 and slept until 11! Oh Yeah! Played on the computer all day (or so :-) I have two desktops and two laptops, and they're always needing some upgrade or fix that takes time to figure out!! I did renew our computer anti-virus/firewall/etc from "AVG" for another two years. Worth the money! Searched the Internet for flights (for me) to Hawaii in March. Looks like $803 is the cheapest flights out of Myrtle Beach and I was able to get the very same flights on 03 March that Dale has (using her frequent flyer miles)! She will stay the whole month of March and I'll come back on the 18th, arriving in Myrtle Beach on the 19th. Alana is asking about family genealogy so Dale is starting to put together information on her side of the family. We also have to start thinking about what excursions/tours we want to take on our April cruise to Panama, Costa Rica and Mexico.

    Saturday - 02 January - Had to do SOMETHING to look like I'm not just lazy these days, so I removed leaves from the gutters and brought in some more garden "stuff" to the shed. It's starting to get really cold at night (will be in the low 20s for the next ten days or so) but thankfully the temperature rises to the 40-50s during the day so we don't usually have to worry about a hard freeze. Of course I am also updating the "News" portion of the web site, as you can see. I still have lots of photos to edit so I'll try to do that now. WINKFLASH.com is also having a sale on prints for 5 cents apiece so I need to upload all my 2009 digital photos to their web site! We plan on leaving for our Florida condo this coming wednesday, the 6th. Dale's cousin Alice and husband Charlie are flying in to Tampa to visit us for a week. We'll return to Myrtle Beach around the 18th or so. This evening we received bad news from Florida. Our old friend Wally Wahlbrink passed away. Chronic pulmonary fibrosis. Wally had been dealing with a chronic cough, sinus and related problems for the past several years. We had just visited with them on a day trip from Bradenton.

    Sunday - 03 January - Karen notified me that Steve Trabun is now on Facebook and is starting a new business called Barili Wines! Steve's father was the Deputy Base Commander when we lived in Italy, and Steve is a computer guru working for Avista Utilities, the Spokane, WA, regionís electric and natural gas company. I told Steve about our italian friends making their own wine and sent him a few pictures. Steve says that he uses the exact same pumps on his variable capacity stainless steel tanks that our italian friends do! Through Steve we made contact with his mother, Claire, who is about to go on a nice cruise! Today must be the day that old friends are making contact. I got an e-mail from 'Lello' (Rafello), a friend in Italy. He works for Honeywell and has apparently moved back to Italy, now living in Fossacesia, close to Napoli. He has two children: Giuseppe (3) and Serena (5 months). The bachelors are falling like flys :-)

    Tuesday - 05 January - I love WINKFLASH.COM prices, and I save up all my digital pictures each year to send to them because they usually have a sale on prints (five or six cents apiece)! Each time, however, it is like pulling teeth to upload anything to their site! For the past three days, as I near the end of a batch of pictures being uploaded, their server terminates the connection and deletes everything! I have approximately 1400 pictures that I've been trying to upload. Their Tech Support just told me to use their "Flash" option for uploading. It works! But it will take at least 4-5 days to upload everything. So much for all the time I spent trying to get this all done before we take off for Florida (tomorrow).

    Wednesday - 06 January - Drove to the condo in Bradenton. 574 miles. Takes about 10 hours with stops. Hooked up the laptops when we arrived and found an e-mail from Rene! Autumn's birthday party will be on 27 February at their place in Charleston, SC. Great! We haven't had a chance to visit them and their new house yet.

    Thursday - 07 January - It's very cool here in Florida. Unusual weather that is supposed to last for quite a while. We set the thermostat to 55 while we were away. The heat's been going all night and today, and it still hasn't warmed to 70 degrees yet. Dang small heat pump! E-mail from Chris Greco, former USAF Flight Commander with us at San Vito, Italy thirty years ago! He just had his first novel published! "Death In The Cage" (the "cage" refers to the gigantic circular antenna that we had at our base in southern Italy). He's sending us an autographed copy.

    Friday - 08 January - Susan Scott, a writer for the Honolulu Star Bulletin, posted an article about her visit to Midway Island, and sent me the following: "Hello from Midway. The school and church is gone but the houses are still here and being renovated with some Federal stimulus money. The Naval Air Facility is falling apart and was recently abandoned for a new, much, much smaller one. The big one is still there though, and pleasantly ghostly." When we worked at NCPAC at the Pearl Harbor and Camp Smith, whenever there was a crisis in the Pacific we would often deploy a small team to Midway. In 1993, when it became apparent that Midway would be turned over to the Fish & Wildlife Service, we flew on the weekly C-130 out of Hickam AFB and retrieved our gear. It was a great place to visit, with grass sprouting through the concrete runways, as well as trees popping through the walkways and streets in the old residential neighborhood. Surprisingly, the abandoned cinderblock homes and the school were in good shape. I always wondered if they would just take a bulldozer to all the old wooden buildings, with their painting peeling from decades of neglect. Apparently they did not destroy the main Naval Air Station building. It has three storys and was quite a long, narrow building. The large roof extended out almost horizontally on both sides to shelter Navy P-3 aircraft. I used to walk down the third floor corridor, mentally dropping back into WW-II since I was surrounded by old government metal desks in the offices and dusty old maps and billboards on the walls. There is a command center on the third floor. We used one of the small offices off the main center for our special, tactical satellite communications systems. Bygone days! This evening we headed up to Tampa Airport to pick up Alice & Charlie. It's a nice, leisurly drive even though this time we hit a lot of rush hour traffic. They were starved so we stopped off at the Stonewood Grill & Tavern back in Bradenton. It's in the same shopping center as our local Winn-Dixie, and we had never been there. Pricey but the food was good!

    Saturday - 09 January - We all went to see AVATAR at the Oakmont 8 theaters on Cortez Rd this afternoon. Unfortunately this theater didn't have it in 3-D, which is the way Dale and I first saw it back at the Market Common in Myrtle Beach. This is the first time in our memory that we've ever gone back to see a movie fairly soon after we had first seen it, but it was worth it. Alice & Charlie liked it too.

    Monday - 11 January - We've all been taking it easy the past few days, hanging around the condo reading, watching TV, etc. Our enclosed lanai is not insulated and we've closed off the sliding doors too. I'm sure that Alice & Charlie looked forward to a WARM Florida rather than this weather!! Today Charlie & I went to the Sarasota Classic Car Museum while "The Girls" shopped at a Sarasota Shopping Mall, south of the city along the Tamiami Trail (US19S). Turned out that I dropped them off at the wrong mall. This one had nothing but VERY expensive stores ($1000+ for a sweater)!

    Tuesday - 12 January - Huge earthquake in Haiti today. Lots of relief organizations, mostly faith-based, fly out of small airports in Florida, but they are apparently adding to the problem because the Port-Au-Prince airport is in really bad shape and flights are stacking up all over. Not many details yet. Dale and Alice spent time at the pool getting some sun. Then we drove down to Sarasota. The big statue of the WW-II Navy sailor kissing a nurse is back! The statue is called "Unconditional Surrender" and all the artsy-fartsy art critics hate it; and all us tourists love it. Took pictures of course. We then drove way south through Cape Coral & Ft Meyers and out onto the islands of Sanibel and Captiva. Sanibel and Captiva have promoted themselves as a destination for the well-to-do, and they are pretty places to visit (once), but they can't compare to the beaches we have around Bradenton (Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key for instance). Unlike our previous visits, on this trip we actually found their public beaches and public parking! They seem to go out of their way to hide these places in hopes of deterring the general public from visiting. They even charge something like $6 just to cross the bridge to Sanibel! Anyway, on our way there we made a side trip for lunch at Bert's Bar & Grill in Matlatcha on Pine Island. Rustic paradise with outside seating on the water -- and SUNSHINE! This was the highlight of our trip; the way Florida is supposed to be! Got an e-mail from Michael. His friend at work is the Building Commissioner and his friend's son is a Marine 1st LT who is applying for a military intern slot at Ft. Meade. The program is called the Junior Officer Cryptological Career Program (JOCCP), something we are very familiar with. In fact we have a box full of JOCCP coffee mugs in our attic. We called our favorite "insider" at The Fort and put in a good word for him as a family friend. It's a small world.

    Wednesday - 13 January - Jessica and Kathy have a web page for the Polar Plunge to be held in January to raise money for Maryland's Special Olympics. I modified my web site to link to their web page in case friends wish to help out by dontaing. Dale and I donated online today. Looks like they will reach their personal fundraising goal. Meanwhile, Hawaii seems to be getting some high waves. Mike & Mary Sipe just got back from a mini getaway at the Turtle Bay Resort on the North Shore. There were some big waves and great weather. He brought his surf board! Tonight we all went to the Beachhouse Restuarant on Anna Maria Island. They had the Gulfside gazebo wrapped in heavy plastic to shield us from the wind, and free-standing tall heaters to keep you warm. Excellent food as per usual.

    Thursday - 14 January - Alice & Charlie have some acquaintances who live nearby and we met them for lunch at Hemingway's on St. Armand's Circle. Very nice place (we'd never been there). The friends come to Freedom, NH, and stay for several weeks in the summertime. After lunch we all walked around the circle. Nice sunshine and beautiful flowers. After their friends left we stopped at OUR favorite place on the circle, Cha Cha Coconuts, for a margarita or two!

    Friday - 15 January - Today's the day Alice & Charlie go back to New Hampshire and, wouldn't you know it, it's now in the low 70s here in Florida! Apparently we've broken some records for the COLD here in Florida over the past week. Got an e-mail from Francine Frank. She is finally quitting her job at Marina Del Rey and moving to Handerson, NV permanently. We stayed with her and Steve when we went to Las Vegas for Michael and Pei's wedding in November 2008. Drove Alice & Charlie to the airport and saw them off as far as we were allowed to go. Later we got a call from them: their plane was delayed by hours! Typical airline scheduling.

    Sunday - 17 January - we spent most of today cleaning the condo, getting it ready for our renters who will arrive in February. I've been working on the shower doors in the master bathroom. They really need to be replaced since I can't remove the iron-water stains and it needs new grout/adhesive. Next summer perhaps. Also changed the fill valve in the guest bathroom toilet tank this afternoon. We've packed away most of the clothes and stuff that we're going to leave in the condo while the renters are here. We put it all into large plastic containers and store them in the master bathroom's "closet" where they won't be in anyone's way. Beautiful day today. Sun shining. Must be at least 75. The TV says that the whole Northeast is having a big snowstorm. More new powder for Skiing!

    Monday - 18 January - Drove back to Myrtle Beach. Made great time; only nine hours. Bandit The Cat loves us and won't leave us alone :-)

    Tuesday - 19 January - It was warm for two days before we left Florida and Dale says that it is nice outside (it had been very cold in Myrtle Beach for the past few weeks). I'm feeling a bit lazy/tired so it will be a few days before I do anything "exciting" :-) Time to catch up on all our e-mails. We can read them and respond to most of them while on the road, but we wait until we're back on my main computer before downloading them (and saving them). Enza sent us some pictures from Naples (Italy) -- her brother Davide's new baby girl, Marta! Cute! Also got a chance to look at pictures on a friend's site. Pat McKinnon and I worked together as contractors for a project upgrading special processing systems at military bases around the world. He's the one who advised me about selecting Florida as our permanent residence. Pat and his wife own time shares and they travel often, always at top of the line places. His latest pictures were of their trip to the Austrian Alps. Breathtaking! Especially a place called "Maria Alm". Makes me want to bone up on my German right away!

    Wednesday - 20 January - Dale is still with the Red Cross but she's not able to help out in Haiti. If you go to a foreign country on assignment for the Red Cross you have to commit for a minimum of 6 weeks. We've been watching the news and I just cannot believe how the U.S. military's capabilities to support a humanitarian relief operation has diminished. They didn't try airdrops until yesterday - something the U.S. military trained and did for years! Ever since Clinton destroyed our capabilities with his self-vaunted elimination of over 300,000 military positions during his presidency, the military units that had people who knew how to plan for such things have been decimated.

    Thursday - 21 January - Dale had some elective surgery today. I'll be her slave until she wants to do housework herself again :-) Heard from Tom Peterson. I had been searching E-bay for a zoom lens for my camera and he has one that willfit. Tom & Sue will be visiting us in February while on their way to Florida.

    Saturday - 23 January - Happy Birthday Kathy! Got an e-mail with picture attached from Chuck Crowell. We're not the only people having cold weather. His avocado tree looks pretty bad. The leaves are all burned brown by the freezing weather they've had in San Antonio (TX).

    Monday - 25 January - Kristin King is having a baby! Due 07 July, Susan's birthday! A package from Kathy arrived today! I love the beer glass, and the Far Out book, and the coffee mug. And of course your mother loved her necklace thingies etc. I loaded your pictures onto my computer. Some GREAT shots!! We'll give the flash/memory stick to Karen & Chuck so they can see the pictures too! Susan sent us pictures of her latest project, "wrapping" buses in Dallas, Philly and Los Angeles with artwork for Johnny Depp's latest film (Alice In Wonderland). I'm not sure if it was CNN, but one of the national news networks recently displayed one of these buses with this advertisement on our local TV. Susan's company should sign their work. Put "ImagicLA", or something, on the bottom of each panel, large enough so that people can see who does this type of work!

    Wednesday - 27 January - Our friend Larry Tyler mailed us a package yesterday with some items we forgot in the condo. I've been uploading digital pictures to WINKFLASH.COM all day long. Got an e-mail from our friend Mel Heller in Maryland (we worked together as contractors after retiring on the same day in 1997). Mel's wife Joyce has had her cancer return so she's undergoing radiation treatments. One of their children is heading to Hawaii on a business trip and he wanted info on Jameson's in Haleiwa. They want to watch the sunset from there. Now I'm homesick!! Now that we are renting the condo in Florida we have to pay taxes to the county and the state. Just set up the accounts on-line so that we can pay. The county tax is only 5%. Don't have info on the State tax yet.

    Thursday - 28 January - Got a call from Michael. The young Marine was selected for the intern program at NSA. He beat out seven other Marines for the slot and is very happy. It's been one week today since Dale's surgery and she is getting a bit too used to me doing the dishes and getting stuff for her while she lays bundled up on the couch watching TV :-) Received the package from Larry Tyler today, and an e-mail from Vivienne in New Caledonia with a note and pictures of her as a tourist guide on one of those big tour buses. Perhaps one day we can be on one of those buses and have Viv tell us all about the sights! Since it is still "winter" here in "balmy" South Carolina I am doing indoors projects. Am halfway through my effort to upload a years' worth of digital photos to WINKFLASH.COM, an internet company that prints snapshots for six cents apiece. It's going SLOW! In my spare time this week I started to play around with my old 8mm movie films. I first tried to scan the narrow film on my slide scanner but the film is too small to allow for the creation of clear snapshots, so I dragged my old 8mm movie projectors down from the attic. I run the 8mm film reels and take digital camcorder shots of the movie as it plays on the screen. Later I'll convert the camcorder tape to a DVD and, lastly, select frames for making prints. I have some wonderful movies of Dale in a bikini playing with our two eldest daughters on Anna Maria Island (Bradenton, FL) back around 1968. Ah yes! Dale in her early 20's with a heavenly body (sigh ...). The movies are so old that the color is a bit washed out but I was able to make some test runs. I am still playing with them, trying to see what will give me the best pictures.

    Friday/Saturday - 29/30 January - Received Chris Greco's novel, Death In The Cage, in Friday's mail and couldn't put it down. It needs a little "filler" to move from one scene to another but I'll bet it would make a good outline for a future Matt Damon movie! Just heard from two old friends. Jackie Carthran, she was my boss when I was a contractor. She recently was promoted to GG-15 and has an assignment at the Secret Service! Excellent. She's one of the top managers I've ever worked with. Also heard from George Manoogian, a friend from Dale and my High School days in Malden, MA. He was looking at my web site and signed my guestbook, unlike (AHEM!) certain of my daughters! Frankly, I had been thinking of discontinuing this web site although I've written it for many years. It's a lot of work to edit, title, and upload the pictures, as well as trying to keep up with the current "News" items when there are so many new things to do, rather than write about the "old/past" things :-) Especially if there's no way for me to tell if anyone's actually looking at it! Anyway, I guess I will now try to get it completely up to date, and then see if I can figure out a way to keep it that way, before deciding if I really want to take it "off the air".

    Sunday - 31 January - I've been on the Internet researching "tours" around San Diego and car rental rates for when we dock at San Diego on May 5th after our cruise. We're thinking of staying and sightseeing in San Diego the 5th and maybe the 6th of May, and then driving to Los Angeles to see Susan and Dan. We have plane tickets for Sunday, May 9th, departing LAX for Tampa, FL, at 10:15PM.

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