"Crotty News" Postings for:

Hi From 'Cool' Myrtle Beach !
    Here's our important dates for February! BIRTHDAYS: Trudy Calo's on the 2nd, Uncle Bob Walsh's on the 4th, Tom Peterson's on the 8th, Barbara Graham (England) on the 10th, Sharon King's on the 15th, John Kohl's on the 16th, Joyce Hoover on the 18th, KAREN's on the 24th and John Garon's on the 26th! MEMORIES: Dale's maternal Grandfather, "Pop" Walsh, died on the 13th in 1987 and Dale's Dad, Al Wedge, died on the same day (13th) in 1999. Dale's mother, Helen (Walsh) Wedge, died on Karen's birthday, the 24th, in 2007. HOLIDAYS: Groundhog Day on the 2nd, Lincoln's Birthday on the 12th, Washington's Birthday on the 22nd (but Federal Govt combined them as President's Day, on the 15th), Mardi Gras (Oh Yeh!) on the 16th, Ash Wednesday on the 17th, and Purim on the 27th.

    Monday - 01 February - This is going to be a lazy few weeks for us. We're getting up late, having a leisurely breakfast while doing crossword puzzles and Suduko and then either watching TV (Dale) or playing on the computer (me). Ooooh - so nice. A friend notifed me of a new web site called WolframAlpha.com. I highly recommend it! It has a short video that you can watch to learn how to craft questions to ask of it.

    Tuesday - 02 February - Got an update from Mary Jane Casey in Massachusetts (Janie was Dale's/Our Maid Of Honor at our wedding). Her husband Ed had back surgery on 27 January at N. E. Baptist. All went well and he came home yesterday. Still weak and a little off balance but glad to be home. The MA weather is below freezing and needless to say he won't be going anywhere. Janie says that he is not as good a patient as he is a doctor! Also heard from Bill Davis in Florida. Seems that there is a story about how us government retirees are supposed to get a $250 tax credit (or an actual $250 check if we also get Social Security). Haven't received anything and don't know if this is for real of not.

    Wednesday - 03 February - Received a request for money from the Low Country Food Bank. We've always believed that food banks are the best charities for us, just so long as the money actually goes to feed people and not for other projects dreamed up by the organizational leadership. Looked them up on-line to see what percentage they spend on fundraising versus food, and wasn't all that satisfied with what I read. Sent an e-mail to the Executive Director, who hasn't had the courtesy to answer or even acknowledge my letter. Sorry: no answer, no donation.

    Thursday - 04 February - Looks liked I've been "burned" on Ebay for the first time. Bought a laptop that the seller said had 2GB of RAM but only had 512MB. He agreed to pay half if I bought the required memory. I opted to get only an additional 1GB RAM since it would only cost us each $23.50. Got the RAM but haven't heard from the guy even after two e-mails. Might see if I have an recourse with Paypal even though it's been a couple of months. I was just looking on "Facebook" and a few of our friends are saying that it is now snowing up there. The weatherman said up to 24 inches for the D.C. and Baltimore area. Down here in Myrtle Beach all we are going to get is heavy rain. It started raining hard enough for me to hear it coming down the drainpipes about an hour ago, and the wind is starting to pick up too.

    Friday - 05 February - Once a year I go through all my digital pictures. I keep the originals untouched/unedited in one separate file (and also on backup CDs) and I make a duplicate set of files that I then edit and resize a bit to make them suitable for uploading to Winkflash.com, who prints the photos for six cents apiece. I just got all my 2009 photos in the mail. It's now early evening and we just had a big power outage! Heavy rain and wind here, and in Maryland it's snowing with up to 24 inches expected. Luckily Chuck & Karen bought me a big battery/surge protector for my computer a few years ago, so my computer is all right, but our air conditioner/heating unit shut off. I thought it was a blown condenser or fuse, but it just came on as I'm typing this so I guess it just turned itself off as a safety precaution. I heard that the Ilikai on Oahu shut down as a hotel. I guess the condo units are still available for the people who own them, but I am wondering if the Chart House is still operating and if our friends Dean & Dean still perform there. A couple of weeks ago the geese stopped flying over Myrtle Beach so I guess Spring is almost here. Up until that time we could almost set our clocks by them. 5:30PM. Every night!

    Saturday - 06 February - The Brunoris called us. They're the people who rented our FL condo for February and March. They were supposed to be arriving at the condo today but are trapped by the huge snowfall up north. The Auto Train out of Lorton, VA was either cancelled or they missed it.

    Sunday - 07 February - Well, Spring may be coming soon but you'd never know it with all the snow in Washington D.C. and Maryland! They're breaking records, and more snowstorms forecast in a few days too! John Garon says that they have 30 inches of snow so far. Also from Maryland, today I heard from Bill Stoner, an old NSA friend with whom I also worked as a contractor after we both retired. Stoney is "Stoneyette" of the famous Hogettes (Washington Redskins). And speaking of football, today is SUPERBOWL Sunday! Us old people sat on our couch, ate burgers and fries, clearly saw every play-by-play with no party crowd jumping in front of the TV, screaming and yelling. We had the best seats in the house :-) Yay Saints! (Always like to see the underdog win)!

    Tuesday - 09 February - Heard from Steve Graham in Cheltenham, England. They've been doing a lot of renovations to their home and are on their way to their second home in Kingsbridge, Devon (southwest coast of England) this weekend. They now have high speed Internet there so we'll now be able to talk via "SKYPE". Dale and I checked our schedule and told the Brunoris to relax. We're now going to come down on the 13th of April so they can stay in the condo up to that date instead of having to leave on the 6th as originally agreed. They were trying to make replacement auto-train reservations, but were unsuccessful -- the subsequent trains were apparently all filled up. So they are now driving all the way down themselves. Should be there in a day or so.

    Wednesday - 10 February - SNOCALYPSE! Snowing so heavily in D.C. and Maryland that the authorities even ordered some of the snowplows off the road. Records broken for snowfall levels. Government shut down. Wow. Wish we were there and snowbound! We received an e-mail from Jerry Koff, the Board president of our FL condo, that our friend Larry Tyler was sick and would be off for a week. Found out that the paramedics took him to the hospital at 2AM. He had a severe base of being dizzy and they think it was a TIA -- a warning of a real stroke. He's now home, resting and taking an aspirin a day. Dale got a bit of cabin fever so we drove over to the ocean. The city of Myrtle Beach is building a boardwalk 1.2 miles long and very wide. We hadn't seen any of it yet, so that was a treat. Looks great. Took pix.

    Saturday - 13 February - Yesterday we got an invitation to nephew Brett's wedding in Montevideo, Uruguay. Unfortunately the wedding is in March and we'll be in Hawaii. Will have to make arrangements to visit him and his wife-to-be Silvana another time. We have just become Facebook Friends, and I'm remembering my Spanish a bit (Silvana says it is "perfecto" :-) Been playing on the computer the last few days. Figured out how to recover e-mails from 2002 through 2006 that I had stored away and forgot about. Now I have them under my Outlook Express mail program and can access them just as if they came in today. The Vancouver, B.C., Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony was last night. Karen called and said that she saw snowflakes. We didn't see any but about an hour later, sure enough, snow was coming down hard. We ended up with about four inches this morning. A winter wonderland but it only lasted until about 3:00PM when it all melted away. I took some pictures and posted them on Facebook. Will try to get more pix posted to my web site soon.

    Thursday - 18 February - A leisurely week - I finished making DVD jackets/covers for a bunch of DVDs I converted from VHS tapes. Found out that a web site that I use to help me with my italian is also a great place to get "american english" translations of italian Facebook entries. My dictionaries seems to be written by authors from England and they don't include much american phraseology. I have to pay close attention because sometimes the automated translation isn't good at all, but other times it is truly excellent. I've begun saving off many useful phrases and meanings. Am also starting to review my original italian language book from my courses in 1978-1980, and am entering ther info in files on my computer. Since I have to concentrate while I type the info, I am getting a good "refresher course". There are just some things in italian that I have always had a hard time understanding so this time I hope to finally become semi-fluent. Then I can start on spanish and maybe french!

    Sunday - 21 February - Yesterday I noticed a two-week old advertisement for a tonneau (truck bed cover) for my Dodge RAM and I replied to see if he still had it. Yep, so today Dale and I drove to his house. He had purchased a new hardtop cover and the "rollup" cover that he had for sale was in good shape, especially for only $75!! He and I installed it in ten minutes. Great! Now we can use our truck bed on trips to store luggage etc without worrying about rain and wind! Love it! Will be making more jackets for my DVDs this week. I've almost caught up and have only about 25 more to do. On friday I finally got a refund from a guy on E-Bay. I figured he was honest but after waiting weeks I was just about to give up and report him when the refund came through. Somehow a SPAMMER has gotten hold of two of my current SCCOAST E-mail addresses and has been hitting me 2-5 times a day on each address. One of the addresses is from my Facebook account and I don't use that one at all for e-mail, so it's hard to figure how he got it. I've been forwarding all SPAM to spam@uce.gov in the hope that they will finally catch up with him and DO something.

    Monday - 22 February - Tom & Sue Peterson arrived this afternoon. They're on their way to Florida and stopping to visit us until wednesday. Tom brought me a beautiful 13x19 inch printout of a picture I took of the marsh and water at Garden City on our anniverary last October. Gorgeous natural colors -- purples, oranges and reds! We spent our evenings watching the Winter Olympics, as we have been doing every night since they started this year.

    Tuesday - 23 February - Drove around town with Sue and Tom, stopping off at a restaurant called Sharkey's, right on the beach. Not bad. It's more a bar than a place to eat, but we could easily see what a hopping place it will be when the warm weather arrives! The city is making lots of progress in building the new boardwalk. Tom brought me a 75-300mm zoom lens for my Rebel XTi Canon camera and I took some great test shots with it. Now I'm ready to take long-distance shots on our Hawaii trip and Panama Cruise. In the evening Tom & I went through two tubes of my brass rubbings, the ones I did back in 1969-1972 in England. Over the years I've mounted several of them but I literally have hundreds, and I won't be doing much with them. Tom liked a couple of nice ones: a knight and a famous one, Thomas Chaucer, son of Geoffrey. Tom will mount them for their house in North Carolina.

    Wednesday - 24 February - Tom & Sue left this morning. They'll stop tonight in the Jacksonville, FL, area and then continue on to Tom's cousin's house in Avon Park, FL. After they left I went out back and chopped through several very thick vines that circle around (and up) a huge pine tree that we are going to have cut down in late March. The tree guys asked me to do that in advance so that they won't have to deal with lots of leafy growth from the vines, which encircle the tree for the first 40 feet or so. Today is Karen's birthday so tonight we all went to El Cerro Mexican restaurant on US 501 in Conway, about 8 miles up the road. This was Dale's first time out with a crowd since her recent surgery. About 25 of Karen's & Chuck's friends showed up so we had a huge room all to ourselves. Good food and lots of it (I even brought home a styrofoam box with half of my meal)! I took pictures and will upload them soon.

    Thursday - 25 February - Susan says that she can pick us up in San Diego on the 6th of May after work! Great! That'll give us two days in San Diego and three days to visit with her and Dany in Los Angeles! This year I stored my potted plants (hibiscus, geraniums, etc) out on "Dale's porch". So now I have lots of healthy plants instead of dead ones :-) Plan to do this every year from now on, and hope to set up seed trays next winter so I can get a big head start. Can't do that until March 19th this year, since we're off to Hawaii and don't want to burden Karen with watering delicate seedlings etc. News channels say that the Northeast is having yet another big snowstorm right now!

    Saturday - 27 February - This morning we drove down to Mt. Pleasant, near Charleston, to visit with Rene & Jay! They had a Third Birthday party for Autumn, a "Princess" Themed party with games and an outside, inflatable Bounce House. Lots of cute little girls dressed up as princesses. Met Jay's parents too. Got a call from Sue Peterson, vacationing down in Florida. She told us about the huge earthquake in Chile and that a tsunami is supposed to hit the Hawaiian Islands later today. In fact the islands will set off all their sirens and alarms at 6:00AM Honolulu time. We called Tracey and woke her up at 5:50AM (10:50AM EST) so that she wouldn't be jolted awake with all that clatter. They spent the rest of the day packing their vehicles in cas they had to evacuate. The TV showed thousands of people parked allalong he roads leading up into the Koolau mountains. Once you left Kailua and Kaneohe the police wouldn't let you back in, and with no facilites (water, bthrooms) anywhere, Tracey decided to stay put until the first waves hit Hilo on the Big Island. After we drove back home from Mt. Pleasant, we watched on TV when the surge hit Hilo Bay. Only three feet of water instead of the monster surges that had been predicted. All OK. Alana was disappointed. She wanted to see something BIG like a wall of water! Spent the rest of the day on the Holland America web site filling in the forms for immigration (passport info etc) and viewing the different tours/excursions you can take at each port. We selected a number of them and sent them off to the Brockways to see what they think.

    Sunday - 28 February - Today I was able to print out all our boarding passes, luggage tags, etc. for the April-May cruise so we are all set. Since we leave for Hawaii on wednesday I guess I should start concentrating on THAT trip :-) I have a sore throat, wouldn't you know! Every time I go to Hawaii it seems that I end up with a bad cold. Hopefully this is NOT the start of one. I went to Wal-Mart today and bought Nyquill and some throat lozenges. Stopped by the boat storage on the way back. Put a lock on the spare tire for the trailer. Should probably put chains and lock on the other tires too(on the trailer itself). Can never be too safe with all the thieves about.

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