This is my personal journal, the equivalent to a wall on Facebook. It's as much for me, so I can remember what I did last week/month/year 😉, as for my friends and family.
I would not make a real friend join facebook to see what I'm up to
See more about Facebook below.
I'm in the process of extending this back in time.
Recent historical additions: Visit to Lewelling Vineyards, Christmas SF Bay Area 2012.
See also What's New at DonsNotes.com. This is a web site where I put notes on whatever I'm interested in at the time.
And my email archive.
Table of Contents
Click on images below to enlarge.
- Move back to California May 2018
After 45 years in NJ I'm on my way home (Davis, California where 5 generations of my family lived).
I'm looking forward to being back with my family, my son and daughter-in-law, brother, cousins, niece nephew, my late wife resting place next to my Dad..., but it's bitter sweet leaving all my friends here.
Some people asked how I got here. See below
How I got here
In 1972 Pacific Bell wanted me to spend a couple of years at the mother ship (Bell System HQ), AT&T/Bell Labs, as part of my career path. My friends in California told me I was crazy to go to New Jersey.
It was the most densely populated state, so I thought it woud be like Los Angeles.
The Bell Labs building I first worked at in Piscataway was across the street from a dairy farm. I grew up next to a dary farm in Antelope, CA and went UC Davis which had the top rated research ag school in the world (lots of cows). There's nothing like the smell of fresh manure to make you feel right at home :).
They offered me some financial incentives to stay, I met my wife, had a son and that was it.
Not that bad. No droughts so you didn't even have to water.
One hour from New York City, The Appalachian Trail at the Deleware Water gap and skiing in the Catskills.
But, the leaves in the Fall (From 20 large oak, maple, walnut and cherry trees) and snow in the winter (2016 had a record snow over 2 ft from a single storm. 1995-96 had the record total of over 6 ft.)
I started researching my genealogy and found that the Presbyterian Church in Morristown not far from here was on land donated by my GGGGGG Grandfather in 1742, his son-in-law (one less Great Grandfather) was a captain in the NJ militia during the revolution. So NJ was my real ancestral home.
I could go on about other historical cousins here, but most of most of you have heard those stories.
- Almost Done April 2018
Two and a half years of decluttering, re-staining water spots from when I brought the fish pond indoors, having loose drywall tape on the 20 ft high ceiling repaired and painted, fixing cracks in sheetrock under the balcony, repairing refastening loose marble on the fireplace, polishing brass railing on the spiral stair, filling holes where I had extra TV and computer wiring coming out of the walls, selling couches yesterday and I'm finally down to the floor.
Got 200 lbs of fertilizer spread before the last snow.
Goldfinches, forsythia and daffodils are out, grass is green, life is good.
28 years of memories in Joanna's dream house; I hate to leave.
- Goodbye Party April 2018
David McRitchie, Loretta Brooks, Julian Blau, Kayla Jackson, me, Janette Bailey, Joan Foley, SHIWO.
A party with my best friends in New Jersey. Organized by Mary.
See more pictures.
- I've got to get out of this place - March 2018
Click on images to enlarge.
After a warm spell at the end of February I thought all was well, I had an offer on my house and Spring was coming.
Not so fast. On Mar. 3 a Noreaster hit with winds gusting above 50 mph, knocking out power for 2 days. The next weekend another noreaster brought 15 inches of wet snow knocking out power for 3 days. Temperature in my house got down to 45°.
I spent a lot of time at Barnes & Noble keeping warm and charging my electronics.
I had to bring a multiple outlet extension cord so we could share the electrical outlets.
It took 45 minutes to shovel the berm left by the snowplow so the mailman could reach the mailbox.
I went out several times to knock the snow off of my arborvitae and some other plants so it wouldn't end up breaking in half like it did with the wet snow of 2011. See below. Some other trees which I couldn't reach didn't fare as well. 3 big limbs broke and were hanging down.
I had to go to the top of my extension ladder and use a pole saw I borrowed from a friend. Unfortunately I'd shipped my climbing gear to california, so had to rig
up some ad-hoc protection. People told me to stop climbing trees with chain saws, when I was 60, but I'm 55 at heart. :-)
The birds enjoyed my bird feeders. Click for video.
A large pine tree fell across my neighbor's driveway. My lanscape lights looked good though. I finally finished installing them to help sell my house. I buried the wire 25 years ago when we built the house. Procrastination. Who Me?
We got 6 more inches of snow yesterday, March 21.
- Las Vegas - Christmas, 2017
Christmas with Brooke, Tom, the Babineaus (Brooke's parents and their friend Chris.
"O" by Cirque-du-Soleil at the Bellagio
- Thanksgiving with Tom and Brook's friends Mel and Vance in Davis. Nov. 2017
- POD for the 2nd half of my move. Nov. 2017
I had a moving van take out my large furniture and some other stuff in June.
I thought I could fit the rest of it in a small trailer I hook to my car when I drove back, but there was too much so I got a small POD.
- Dinner and Classical Guitar at Troy (Turkish and Mediterranean) Resturant - Aug 26, 2017
Troy (Turkish and Mediterranean) Resturant where her boyfriend, Alejandro Ataucusi, was playing classical guitar.
- Norvin Green State Forest Hike - Aug 25, 2017
Did a 5.6 mile hike at Norvin Green with SHIWO and her sister Jean. Great views. Part of the trail required rock hopping. Saw some big snakes. There is a road on the north side named "Snake Pit Rd.", so I guess snakes are common there.
- Great American Eclipse - Party - Aug 21, 2017
Had some extra eclipse glasses so had 10 people over for an eclipse party.
We made some homemade ice cream with the old wooden White Mountain hand crank freezer. Tried several pin hole cameras.
See my eclipse web page.
Some clouds came in right after the maximum magnitude of 77%, so we could take pictures with our cameras without solar filters.
I had a 270mm lens. Speed and ISO were set and the camera determined the exposure. iPhone was all automatic.I didn't have time to fool around with settings. I should have had ISO ≤ 100 and let the camera choose the speed and exposure..
They are color images, but look B&W because of the cloud cover.
- 4th of July at Steffi's roof top in Jersey City
See pervious years below.
- Historic Discovery - Washington Rock - McBride Rock -May 28, 2017
Our house in New Jersey is on Middlebrook Heights where Washington's army was camped in 1777 and 1778.
I'm a member of the Washington Campground Association and at this years Washington birthday meeting historian Robert A. Mayers who is writing a book on the revolution in New Jersey, gave a talk and said he had found a sketch of a Washington Rock at Middlebrook heights (where I live) where Washington kept an eye on the British troops under General Howe in New Brunswick.
There is a Washington Rock State Park 5 miles east of here that is well known, but recently discovered historical records indicate Washington also used Middlebrook Washington rock, which makes sense because his troops were here and there is a good view of New Brunswick.
The historian found a rock near a neighbors house close to Chimney Rock which he thought might be it. However there is a big rock outcropping 0.2 miles from our house which I frequently jog by on a mountain bike trail. I always thought it would be a good spot to observe the valley below, but I couldn't match it to the sketch the historian had, because of the vines covering it.
I spent several weeks removing most of the vines, with some help from Dave McRitchie, and trimmed some of the thorny shrubs so you could see it from the trail below. Even though I wore long pants and long sleeves it looked like I had chickenpox because of all the thorns.
I invited the historian over to take a look. He said he was mad at me :-), because he had just finished that chapter of the book indicating it was a different rock, but this rock was a better match and now he had to rewrite that chapter.
As it turned out, my neighbor a friend and retired local businessman and civic leader had made the rock near his place accessable from his property where he had a small museum and had publicized it. It was also easily accessable from the road, where as my rock required a 2/3 mi hike thru a complicated trail system, so Mayers left it as Middlebrook Washington rock in his book, but named my rock
- Car Woes -May 5, 2017
My 2001 jeep which I bought from a friend's daughter 13 years ago finally gave out with 184,000 miles. Kelly Blue Book said it was worth $5,800 in fair condition, but my local dealer said it would cost $9,000 to get it repaired.
I was hoping it would last until I moved to California (I'd sell it here and get a new car there.), but an axel seal broke and it was leaking differential fluid on the brakes, not good.
I had a bunch of people who wanted it and sold it for $1,800.
Tom and I still have our Rubicon Ready 1998 jeep in California.
There was an old VW Cabrio sitting on Rt 202/206 all winter with a for sale sign. It had 162,000 miles, some body damage, rust, broken door handle, ...
I got it for $450. It is a convertible my first sports car.
Unfortunately a couple of weeks after I got it I got hit the day I was leaving for California.
They totaled it and Prudential paid me $1,198 I bought it back from the salvage yard for $114.
My first sports car and a convertible. Fun to drive buy now giving me more problems with check engine lights.
To be continued.
- Davis - Waiting for furnature -May 1, 2017
- I went to my new digs (renting from my daughter-in-law now) in Davis, CA
to meet up with the movers bringing furnature from NJ. They were 2 weeks late.
While waiting I got a years worth of weeds in the back yard pulled and landscape cloth and mulch down.
Tomatoes were on sale at ACE hardware so I got some. Then it came to me.
"Unlike New Jersey, the Garden State, it doesn't rain in California in the summer".
So, I had to get a watering timmer set up. See Watering Timers at DonsNotes.com
- Squaw Valley Ski day -April 28, 2017
I went up to the cabin to check things out and Homewood Mountain Resort was closed, so I went to Squaw Valley (Sight of the 1060 Winter Olympics) where I learned to ski. A friend is an instructor there and got me a 1/2 price senior ticket for $55. Can you believe we boycotted Squaw in 1970 because they raised their ticket prices to $10. Still lots of snow, but a south-east wind resulted in a lot of icy conditions on many of my favorite slopes.
- Picnic Day at Davis -April 22, 2017
Last week I posted a link to Neil DeGrasse Tyson's anti anti-science video, on Facebook which probably pissed off my conservative friends.
To be balanced I thought I needed to post something to piss off my liberal friends.
I'm moving back to California. Last weekend while I was here waiting for furnature being shipped from New Jersey, I attended Picnic Day at the University of California at Davis, 2 miles from my new house. I have fond memories of attending Picnic Day when I was a kid. My Dad attended UC Davis and my Mother grew up in Davis. We would visit my Grandparents and have a picnic lunch on the Quad.
So how is this going to piss off my liberal friends?
UC Davis, the #1 Agricultural and Environmental Science University in the world, was a major contributor to the development of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO's); Liberal's don't like GMO's. My son and I also attended UCD and I support them (UC Davis not necessarily GMOs).
At Picnic Day there were people protesting the beef industry. Agriculture is the major contributor to Methane Emissions (a more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2) and beef production is a major contributor. UC Davis is looking into ways to reduce Methane production in Ag now.
The environmental impact of ranching is not just methane from cows belching. The environmental impact of growing and processing feed (e.g. corn) for cows and other livestock is also high. I'm trying to do more vegan, but am not ready to give up a good steak or lamb chop (I used to raise sheep) every now and then.
See Environmental Effects of the U.S. Food System - A Framework for Assessing Effects of the Food System - NCBI Bookshelf
But of course my conservative friends say this has nothing to do with climate change.
I also enjoyed a traditional meat and potato dinner at my Aunt's house near here. We are a 4th generation Sacramento Valley farm family. Lots of memories of Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners on the farm.
I guess my Vegan friends don't like that either.
Fortunately I have lots of moderate friends and we can sit back and enjoy watching the liberals and conservatives throwing rocks at each other.
I decided not to post this on Facebook.
My post in January said my New Years resolution was to be more tolerant, sorry I slipped back. :-)
It was also refreshing to attend Easter Sunday Services at the Presbyterian Church here where my Grandmother was a Sunday school teacher. They reconcile Science and Religion without abandoning the core tenants of Christianity. The explanation of the Resurrection involved things like Metaphysics which is over my head, but it's comforting to know that Science and Religion can co-exist in harmony.
If you got this far, thanks for reading. I probably should have limited this to pictures of sheep, insects, climate charts and the winery at Picnic Day.
My liberal friends would be impressed though; Last year UC Davis was ranked No. 1 in the world for for environmentally friendly campus operations and policies, and research and education on sustainability. by UI GreenMetric
Our family also funded the installation of a drip irrigation system on our family farm near here, leased on a share crop basis to a local farmer. The aquifer in the Northern California Valley held up well during the drought; It was the central and south where most of the problems were.
I didn't post this to Facebook and put it here instead. My two reviewers have always told me not to make Facebook posts fror something I've written after more than 1 glas of wine. :)
- Preparing house for sale - Winter 2017
I'm getting toward the end of a long list of things, realtors, a house staging guru and friends have told me I have to do to get a good price for my house. Some friends told me I should just sell it as is and avoid all the hassle, but Joanna and I spent so much time, over 3 years, designing and building the house I hated to let it go for a song.
Some of the things I needed to do were:
Change all the outlets and switches from almond (almond is out now) to white. There were 8 switches and 3 GFI outlets in the master bath alone.
6 switches by the door to the basement/garage.
Painting. Originally the reator only told me to paint the family room and kitchen.
[They want to get it on the market fast and get their commission. It doesn't make a lot of difference to them if their commission is $21,000 or $24,000 as long as they can get it quickly, and convince me to sell for a lower price which will make it more marketable.]
I think the $40,000 I'll spend on upgrades will get me $80-$100,000 more in price. Stager said also sell it faster with upgrades based on the demographics of potential byers.
- Chinese New Years 2017
Tom and Brook went to a Chinese New Year dinner at his cousin, George Tang's, in Union City, CA. I usually try to come out for Chinese New Year, but had so much going on getting my house ready to sell I missed it.
- New Years 2017
Happy New Year from the First Night Celebration at Morristown NJ on the town square donated by my GGGGGGG Grandfather, Benjamin Hathaway in 1742. The land was originally donated for the Presbyterian Church, which deeded part of the property to the town for the square in 1816.
I can't resist adding a little more Church history.
By 1840, a social, theological and leadership controversy split the Morristown congregation. One faction left and founded the South Street Presbyterian Church in 1841.
Nothing has changed. (Most of my NJ friends will understand this.)
My New Years wish is that people would learn to get along and appreciate their differences.
The example I always give for this is John Kenneth Galbraith (a liberal) and William F. Buckley (a conservative). They were bitter rivals on Buckley's TV program "firing line", but after they retired they met monthly for lunch in either New York or Boston.
In Galbraith's contribution for a Reader's digest series on the Peoples of America, he documents all the Scottish contributions to science, industry and let's not forget golf; He concludes,
"Scotch tolerance, indeed, we would love to believe, is our best contribution to the American scene."
[Scotland voted against Brexit]
My new years resolution is to do a better job of practicing tolerance.
Links on DonsNotes.com:
Presbyterian Church USA Issues
Tollerance in religion here
Inter-Group Strife in society here
- Christmas 2016 - Lights get simpler every year
I gave away most of my christmas stuff, because I thought I'd be moved to Davis by now. Got 3 led balls and a wreath on the front door this year.
- Dec 2016 - Moving family furnature Tom had been keeping to Davis
Moved my grandparents marble top dresser, table and roll-top desk into the house I'm renting from my daughter-in-law and planning to buy. We're having Christmas there.
- Christmas 2016
I'm sitting here on the California Zephyr, a historical Amtrak train which goes from Oakland California (across the Bay from San Francisco) to Chicago. I'm getting off at Davis.
No Wi-Fi, everyone was ordering Bloody Marys so I thought I'd have one and write what is the equivalent of my Christmas Letter. I'm a more prolific writer with a little C2H5OH in my blood. Usually gets me in trouble, but a good excuse for my bad grammar. ;)
I've been procrastinating about my move back home for 5+ years now; My best friends are in NJ, I have a nice house and still haven't been to the Statue of Liberty.
But the last 2 days have made it clear that this is the time to move home after 44 year in NJ.
Yesterday was not a good day
Trying to pack my last minute kitchen utensils and fix up my house (I've got a mess with projects getting the house staged to sell) for a house sitter. We're (Tom, Brooke and Brook's parents) are having Christmas in Davis at the house I'm renting from Brooke and her parents. They thought it would be nice to have some dishes, silverware, pots and pans etc.
My NJ house requires a lot of work now fixing 25 year old appliances that keep breaking and getting it ready to sell. I ordered a new oven Monday.
Yesterday morning I cut my hand on sheet metal I'm installing for new stovetop vent. Had to go to Home Depot for an adapter to connect new duct to outside vent. Car overheated on the way home.
Realized I'd diluted my anti-freeze because of a slow leak in the cooling and today in NJ will have a high of 25 deg., so had to clean out the other side of my garage filled with moving boxes to make room for my jeep (185,000 mi. - needs $3,000 worth of repairs).
New garage door opener started running by itself, so had to disconnect it.
Plane to Calif connecting thru DC was delayed. I was going to be stuck in DC overnight, but got thru to United after 20 min hold and got a direct flight to San Francisco 1 minute before I had to board the DC plane. More delays going to SF, but made it and stayed with Brooke and Tom.
Things looking up today.
Left Brooke and Tom's apartment as they headed to work and stopped at the Dubois Park Cafe near the place where I waited for the trolly car which went down Market St to the financial district where I worked at Pacific Bell headquarters 45 years ago. Had a bagel and lox and read an article in the SF examiner about #CalExit (proposal for California [6th largest economy in the world] to succeed from the U.S. California contributes more than it gets from the Federal Government and they are worried about retribution after voting 2 to 1 for Clinton.
I took the Muni to BART to Richmond where I caught the train to Davis.
- Philadelphia Half Marathon Nov 19, 2016
Ran the Half Marathon with SHIWO, her Daughter, Kayla, Sister, Jean, and a friend, Kathy.
In previous years Philadelphia ran the half and full marathons on the same day with close to 30,000 participants. This year they did the half (10,526 finishers) on Saturday and full (9,000 finishers) on Sunday.
SHIWO and I alternated 4 min. walks and 4 min. runs, the others did 1 min. walks and 3 min. runs as I did last year. We kept up for most of the race, passing them on our run while they passed us on our walk. Two of them dropped back when we hit some nasty hills. Jean started pulling ahead around mile 10. At mile 12 SHIWO thought she saw those tall pink sox way up ahead and said let's go for it, We took off and ran the last mile, catching Jean 100 yards from the finish. An exciting race with a little family competition. They changed the course from last year which added more hills. We were all beat but after a couple of beers at the Bishop's Collar we were feeling better.
- The Election Nov, 2016
I usually try to keep this blog to personal activities, however I have to say something about the election.
When something goes wrong I always try to find something good in it. It may only be how I screwed up and learned what not to do in the future.
The only good thing I've been able to come up with so far as a result of this election is I've learned some new words. I'm vocabulary challenged.
See Election Postmortem at donsnotes.com
Tough talking leaders are popular at first but fade. E.g. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran, Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, George W. Bush's Axis of Evil (Iran, Iraq and North Korea) and Shock and Awe campaign against Iraq resonated with a large group of people. However by the end of his term in 2008 he had the highest disapproval rate (71%) of any other president. (CNN)
However Silvio Berlusconi, Itallian Prime Minister, to whom Trump has been likened, served for 9 years.
A political and history blog on the election - A Brief History…
See 2016 Election Results - Swing States predictions vs actual
- Cabin Fall Chores - Oct, 29, 2016
Tom and I went up to the Cabin to put away the outdoor furniture, close storm windows etc. Tom had turned off the outside water and put away the deck swing 2 weeks earlier. Just beat snow on the summit on the way home.
Removing the dog fence between the house and garage so the snow plow doesn't knock it over. Posts were 2 ft in the ground.
Rainbow Sunday morning looking north from Homewood toward Fleur Du Lac, Henry Kaiser's former estate at the end of the rainbow where scenes from the Godfather 2 were shot.
- Tennis buddies - Sept, 2016
Bill hosted an end of summer lunch for our Thursday tennis group after playing from 9:30-11 in temperatures from the low to high 80's and 80% humidity. Mari made a great Orzo salad.
Back: Julian Blau, Larry Gould, Bill Hennebery, Joe Hambraugh
Front: Don McBride, John Tomaine
- More upgrades to California houses Aug, 2016
I'm renting Brook's house in Davis where I am moving as soon as I sell my NJ house.
We raised the roof on the cabin and added bedrooms upstairs after a tree landed on it in Dec 2014.
Marty did a lot of decorating to spruce it up.
Pictures at Home Sweet Homewood & Cottage | 5 BD Vacation Rental in Homewood, CA | Vacasa
Our cabin page.
Home upgrades - Cabin -new stove and refrigerator Davis house lamp & couch
$4,800. Couch and floor lamp $9
The new stove and refrigerator were one of the final additions to the cabin after remodeling following the tree landing on it.
After spending all that money on the cabin and getting my house in NJ ready to sell, I have to save on the Davis house, but it's in pretty good shape. Brooke and Tom did a lot to upgrade it; New floors, AC, windows, bathroom tiles, termite repair, .... Perfect retirement place, in the town where four generations of my family lived. Also 3 generations of UC Davis students in our family; Dad's Ag Certificate in 1936 (UC Davis is the #2 Ag Science school in the world), My math degree in 1966, Tom and Brooke's PhDs in neuroscience in 2011.
- Another jogging blunder
- I was trail running on the mountain bike path across the street, tripped on some rocks and did a face plant. 6 stitches on my lip and a broken nose.
- 2016 Political frustrations
I try to stay away from politics and religion here, but after a bad dayand a few drinks I sent a message about my frustrations to a few friends. See:
Democracy doesn't work - Free Trade - Trump - Plato's Guardians
I looked at facebook after the Democratic National Convention and saw a fair number of pro-Trump posts. There were also a couple of good objective posts also, so I fired off another email to vent.
See Politics in 2016
- Working on my places in California - Apr 1, 2016
We (Dale and Marty's family Tom and I) were up at the Tahoe Cabin
to clean up after new bedrooms were built upstairs following a tree which fell on the cabin in Dec. 2014.
I went back to Davis to do some gardening at Brook's house in Davis where I'm moving.
Found a good 3.2 mi.(5K) jogging loop.
The loop from Brook's house on E 8th st. took me along bike/walk paths and ended up going by my Grandparents and Great Grandparents graves 0.3 mi from the house.
I had to jog in the AM due to 101° temps in the afternoon.
See New Jersey and California temperature profiles.
- Annual Spring Migrating and Nesting Bird walk with Somerset Naturalists May 14, 2016
- Hike along the Millstone River at Zarephath NJ then across the Delaware and Raritan Canal to the ponds across the street.
web Yellow Warbler Canada Geese Painted Turtles
Harron Oriole nest Eastern Kingbird Red-winged Blackbird
A total of 59 Species were seen (combined 2015, 2016 list) [ see list]
See Bird Migration
Sorry they are a little blurry. I used a monopod and a general purpose Tamron 18-275 mm F/3.5-6.3 lens which was rated best for travel because of it compactness. Because of the small sensor on my Canon Rebel it was an equivalent of 435 mm. I shot at 1/500. But it is not the best lens for birding.
See Wildlife Photography
- Friday Prayer at the Masjid-E-Ali Mosque in Franklin Twp - May 6, 2016
The "Commonalities & Differences Among Abrahamic Faiths" class taught by Dr. Ali Chaudry at Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church attended Friday prayers at the Mosque. They invited us for lunch that they provide for participants afterword and met afterword with the Imam and several members of the Mosque including students from Rutgers U. They also invited us to dinners they serve after sundown during Ramadan.
The practicing Muslims I've worked with at Bell Labs and AT&T are among the most ethical, just and caring people I know.
See Islam at donsnotes.com
Ali Chaudry Discusses His Book, 'Islam & Muslims' | Patch
- South Mountain Reservation Hike with TriState Ramblers
Dave, Loretta and Me at Hemlock Falls.
Red tail Hawk April, 2016
I heard banging on the dining room window and found a red tail hawk sitting on the deck railing trying to get in. I thought he was seing a reflection in the window and wanted to move on in that direction, but later he went to another window on the other side of the house and started banging again.
I don't know what that was all about.
Spring New Jersey Mar 25, 2016
I posted the following on facebook.
Everything's coming up yellow. American Goldfinches (NJ State bird), forsythia and daffodils. Happy Easter.
California - Tahoe Feb 15, 2016
After Chinese New Year dinner with my sister-in-law, Mary Chien, we went up to the cabin to start moving things back in after repair from a tree falling on it in Dec. 2014. The loft upstairs was expanded to a full room.
I dropped Tom at Incline Lake for back country ski patrol and I went up to Mt. Rose Ski Area, where my nephew, Sean, a manager there, got me a ski pass.
I Got 10 runs in from 8,300 to 9,500' elevation. Great conditions. Another test of my stent.
Picture from Slide Mtn. with Lake Tahoe in the background.
Sean also comped me a bowl of the best chili in the Reno area.
Brook, Tom and I also worked on the Davis house owned by Brooke and her parents, where I will be moving. It will be nice NOT to have an acre of grass to mow, leaves to rake and snow to shovel. 😀 I'll be living 1/2 block from the Davis cemetery, the resting place for my Grandparents and Great Grandparents.
Blizzard of 2016 - Winter Storm Jonas. Jan 24, 2016
All time record for one snow storm.
Official report for Bridgewater was 24.5 inches.
My neighbor finished the last 30' of the driveway with his snow blower.
I sold my electric snow blower last fall thinking I'd be in sunny California by now. :(
The official report from the New Brunswick National Weather Service Cooperative Station was 26.9". This exceeds any storm going back to 1893. The previous record was 22.6" in the January 1996 storm. These totals are for the storm event, not just a 24 hour period.
Totals by location at the Office of the New Jersey State Climatologist (ONJSC)
In New York City's Central Park: Jonas dumped 26.8 inches of snow where records date back to 1869. This was just shy of the record snowstorm of 26.9 inches set Feb. 11-12, 2006. The Weather Channel
In Philadelphia 31.9 inches crushed the Jan. 7-9, 1996 blizzard total of 25.9 inches.
150° panorama from our back porch.
I helped SHIWO and Will with their driveway in Bridgewater.
13 tons of snow moved by hand; Will did the most.
185 ft driveway plus parking area = 2,120 sq ft
Water Content = 10-1 i.e.. 24 in of snow is 2.4 inches of water.
This was a wetter snow than that of '96 which had a 13-1 ratio.
With a water density 62 lbs per cubic ft. you can calculate the
weight. 2,120 x 2.4/12 x 62 = 26,288 lbs = abt 13 tons
Equivalent of 4 ft (lift and throw) per shovel = 105,000 ft-lbs
= 34,000 calories. I'm authorized 2 beers after my share of that.
Needed 3 more tons for "16 tons"
The roof of Trader joe's in Westfield collapsed,
causing walls to buckle,so the whole
building had to be demolished.
Predictions at WeatherWorks from Somerset Co OEM
Storm lasted from 10 PM Fri - 10 PM Sat
Hogmanay Celebration. Jan 3, 2016
Hogmanay party at the Richard's in Yardley PA.
Fri 6 AM prediction
2.0 - 4.0" 5%
4.0 - 7.0" 20%
7.0 - 14.0" 40%
14.0 - 20.0" 25%
20.0 - 28.0" 10%
Sat 3 AM preciction
10.0 - 16.0 inches 20%
16.0 - 26.0 inches 55%
26.0 - 36.0 inches 25%
Actual at my place -
10" at 11 AM 20" drifts
15" at 4 PM 24" drifts
21" at 8 AM 30" drifts
(Oficial amount for Bridgewater was 24.5")
After some food and drink (Newton's Amazing Eggnog) we went outside to a bonfire (click on Hogmanay above for why they call it a "bonfire") where we sang Auld Lang Syne (a Robert Burns poem) and some other tunes then wrote something we wanted to get rid of and threw it in the fire. I put our house on mine.
Auld Lang Syne with lyrics.
Christmas in the San Francisco Bay Area, 2015
Stayed with Tom at Sanchez St., San Francisco.
Picture from Corona Heights.
Brook flew to Sarasota to be with her parents who had just returned from Ecuador.
Tom and I had Christmas with my Sikes cousins at Kathie's in Napa.
Kathie's whole clan, Molly, Megan and families were there as well as Frank. We had a nice visit after dinner with Stephen who is recovering from some serious medical problems at an assisted care facility in Napa and Caroline who is looking after him.
The Pipes of Christmas - Central Presbyterian Church, Summit, NJ Dec. 20, 2015
We went to see the The Pipes of Christmas produced by the Clan Currie Society, with the Johnstons. What a show, bagpipes, drums, Scottish fiddlers, brass, poetic and lyrical readings. The bagpipes gave me goosbumps.
Rockefeller Center - Dec 12, 2015
I can see why the Canaries (friends from Church) have been to all 17 annual performances.
Some of the performers:
Kevin R Blandford Memorial Pipe Band, Southern California
Calum Pasqua - Professional Scottish Fiddler
Susie Petrov | Scottish Music and Dance
D. Paul Woodiel, Violin
See The Program for others and Videos
Clan Currie's New CD - Best of the Pipes of Christmas - YouTube
Loretta and I walked over to Rockefeller Center (49th and 5th ave) to see the Christmas tree after Nathan Brewer's Christmas Party at The Laurie Beechman Theatre (42nd and 9th) near Times Square.
It was 60 deg and it seemed like the whole world was in Midtown Manhattan. Pedestrian gridlock; Sometimes you had to wait for two lights to cross the street.
Picture at Bryant Park.
Thanksgiving Dinner at Liberty Corner Presbyterian Church - Nov 26, 2015
Basketball with Jasante and Jayden after Thanksgiving Day dinner with their families at Liberty Corner Presbyterian Church.
It was our turn to host families as part of the Interfaith Hospitality Network of Somerset County NJ. Gail Bicknell and her daughter cooked a great dinner, turkey with all the fixings.
Don't jog in the moonlight without a flashlight (7 stitches) Nov 10, 2015
I was running on the grass between the sidewalk and road to save my shoes and knees when an oncoming car with high beams blinded me and I hit a metal sign post.
Luckily a car behind saw me getting up and gave me a ride home.
It was tough trying to bandage it myself with 1 hand while holding a paper towel over the wound with the other hand to keep the blood from running all over. (The blood thinner I was on made it worse).
I added gauze pads but the blood kept coming thru. I found an old sock in the car and used that on the way over to the emergency medicine office.
I don't think they liked the old sock which had coffee stains on it, which is why they wanted me to update my tetanus. 😀
They had to take turns leaning on my wound to get the bleeding to stop.
X-ray showed no fracture, but they gave me a shot of antibiotics and a prescription for antibiotic pills, because the wound was near the eye and they didn't want to chance an infection.
I waited 12 hrs to fill the antibiotic prescription then skipped a dose, so it got infected. They gave me another antibiotic shot and
said if I don't take care of it the scar will be worse, but every guy my age should have a few good scars to show they've had and eventful life 😀.
Glad I got that prescription drug insurance. I've had more prescriptions this year than in the last 10 years. Blood thinner, anti-cholesterol med (see heart below), antibiotic for tooth infection, face cream to get rid of precancerous sun damage (hence the spots on my face) and this one.
I don't feel like I need the percocet, but I may get it anyway. Always good to have some pain killers on hand.
I can't count the number of times I've been stuck this year. Blood donations, nuclear stress test (2), stent, tetanus, antibiotics and when I got to the pharmacy they talked me into a flu shot even though I told them I was a healthy young adult an didn't need it. 😉
I've included all the gory details because I think there are some lessons to be learned here.
Philadelphia Rock 'N' Roll half marathon Oct 31, 2015
18,500 runners completed in the 38th edition of this event.
Same scenario as last year (see below), SHIWO asked me to train with her for her run with her daughter and sister in Savannah, an offer I couldn't refuse 😉 . Then my friend Mike said, "since you've already trained, so why don't you do the Philly race with us." OK, it would be a good opportunity to try out my stent (see below).
My results - 2:29:40 = 11:25/mi was 30 seconds/mile faster than last year.
I also went from the bottom 10% of my age group last year to the top 20% of my new age group 70-74 this year. I've got 3 people to thank.
1. My cardiologist for opening up my heart plumbing.
2. My exercise physiologist, Gary Benedict, at Robert Wood Johnson Univ. Hospital Sports Medicine. After they kicked me out of basic cardio rehab following the stent, they let me go to phase 3 rehab at RWJ. Gary put me on a program of doing squats and exercises to improve my running technique. I had too much forward lean and needed a more erect posture.
3. SHIWO for talking me into training with her again this year. Without her persistence I would have not done those 10 PM runs. At least she didn't have us running in snow after midnight like last year 😁.
Glad I didn't retire after last year as planned.
See our running log. Notice we had paces of around 12:30 - 13:15 on the long runs, so the actual excitement of the race made a big difference.
There was quite a temperature contrast between my in Philadelphia which started with freezing temperatures in the morning and SHIWO's race in Savannah a week later with heat indexes over 100°. One person in Savannah died during the race.
Busy cleaning up 35 years of stuff so I can sell our house
What a job. It's fun to throw things out. I just have to stop reading stuff I saved 25 years ago because I thought I'd read it someday. See our house.
See stuff for sale and free stuff.
Painters figure out how to paint the front which is 39 ft high by tying 2 8 ft ladders to my 22 ft ladder. And I though I did some crazy stuff while working on the house!
Central Jersey Jazz Festival Somerville Sept 20, 2015
Five groups played. Here is a video of the
Wolff & Clark Expedition featuring Lenny White. They included Pianist Michael Wolff, drummer Lenny White, Saxophonist Hailey Niswanger and base Andy McKee.
Norman Patterson was dancing in front of the stage thru most of the performance.
Gordon Ward's Benefit Concert Sept 13, 2015
Some friends at Gordon Ward's benefit concert for cancer patient Doug Clark at the Brook Hollow Winery.
US Open Tennis Sept 5, 2015
Tom and I got general admission tickets which allowed access to the grandstand and non-reserved seats in Louis Armstrong Stadium. We saw some good matches.
Most exciting was Donald Young from Atlanta (unseeded) who upset #22 seed Viktor Troicki from Serbia 4-6, 0-6 7-6, 6-2, 6-4 in the grandstand. The crowd really got behind Young after he won the tie-breaker in the 3rd set.
Mary Joe Fernández was announcing in broadcast booth right behind the stands and Tom went up to the last row asked her for a picture and she complied.
Slow Motion Videos of serves:
Samantha Stosur (AUS) (2011 US Open winner)
Richard Gasquet (FRA) seeded #12)
Bart and Lorraine's Pig Roast Aug 29, 2015
The Jackson's annual pig roast. Loretta's scottish fiddle group was there. I also met some friends from the NY PC and genealogy user group, who I hadn't seen for quite a while. I had my Willy Mays shirt on and a Dodger fan, who was there and used to go to the games when the Giants and Dogers were both in NY told me that the Giants cheated when they won the '51 pennant. Bobby Thomson's "Shot Heard 'Round the World" was aided by a guy with a telescope in the center field stands who had relayed stolen signs to the batters.
Bart also set up a sheaf toss.
US Open Tennis Aug 26, 2015
A group of us from Hilltop Tennis Club went to the US Open Qualifying on Wed. It's free during qualifying.
Players ranged from 17 year old junior champs to 26 year old pros who didn't make the main draw.
We saw a great mach with Taylor Townsend, #1 ranked Junior Woman who was almost denied a spot because of the USTA's concern over her weight - 5'6" 170-pounds.
Taylor won 6-2, 7-5, but lost 2-6, 2-6 to a Russian (ranked 131) in the 2nd round.
We got to see Simona Halep and Rodger Federer (#2 seeds in the men and women's draw) practice.
Halep also had a body problem. See "How breast reduction saved a tennis star's career | New York Post"
Halep gave Serena a run for her money in last weeks Western and Southern Group Open Finals 3-6, 6-7. Looking for another exciting match in the women's finals on Sept. 12.
See My US Open Tennis page and My tennis web page.
Biking in Chimney Rock Mountain Bike Park Aug 24, 2015
I needed a picture for my strava page. so had a friend take a picture of me on a trail at Chimney Rock Mountain Bike Park, part of Washington Valley Park just across the street.
I don't ride the real serious trails! A spill could mess up my tennis.
This is where I cross-country ski in the winter.
New Fish Pond Aug, 2015
The deer waded in my old old (450 gallon) fish pond punching holes in the old liner and some critters made nests behind the liner causing the side to cave in. My realtor told me not many people want a fish pond, so I filled most of it in and just left a 100 gallon pond.
The frogs are just as happy with the new pond. Click on the picture to enlarge it and see if you can find Kermit.
Sierra Club Dinner Aug 11, 2015
Dinner for my 25 years of Sierra Club Service in New Jersey.
See our web archive for some of the things we worked on.
Last big play weekend before knuckling down and getting my house on the market Aug 7-9, 2015
I did more socializing this weekend than I can remember in recent history. (Well except for my week long sierra club outings).
Folk project concert with Loretta. The main performer was David Massengill, a well known folk singer/songwriter, guitar and appalachian dulcimer player from Tenn.
At break I pulled up a picture of my G-G-G-G-G-G Grandfather, Henry Massengill's statue in Johnson City, TN, on my phone and asked if he was related to him. He said yes he was his G-G-G-G-G-G Grandfather. That makes us 7th cousins. He told me some interesting stories about seats for 100+ slaves in the church Henry built. see cafamilies.org/thomas/h_massengill.html
Sat AM: Hike with TriState Ramblers and Loretta at Jockey Hollow
Sat noon: NJ Sierra Club state executive committee meeting, where I resigned effective when I move. They're giving me a dinner tomorrow.
Sat PM: Marchant's party at their place. Chris had his whole band, Mama's Stew, there.
Chris plays for the contemporary service at our church and is my plumber.
Sunday AM: Church with Steve McConnell, our former pastor, at The Bay Head Chapel.
Brunch at The Bay Head Yacht club hosted by Jim and Marilyn Johnson with a lot of people from Liberty Corner Church.
Sun afternoon: Joan invited Loretta and I to her sister's boat in Brick. She took up over to F-Cove, the place to party, in her runabout.
On the way back home I was thinking about how a steady diet of this lifestyle is not me. It was fun but ... New Jersey Festival of Ballooning July 24, 2015
The Annual QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning with 100 balloons is the largest summertime hot air balloon and music festival in North America.
Loretta tells me people with good social networks live longer, but I think there is such a thing as overdoing it.
They let photographers in early Friday morning for the shake down inflations. You can get up close and talk to the pilots.
(The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in October has 500+ balloons.)
Friends July 17, 2015
A friend, Gordon Ward, who used to go to our church was performing at the Folk Project Minstrel series in Morristown tonight. So, I invited some people from our church who knew him over for a BBQ before and carpool up to Morristown.
Gordon was the only guy who showed and he had to leave for his sound setup, but I had 7 attractive women who made it and brought some great food and drinks to go with the BBQ.
Life is bueatiful.
Liberty Corner Church Share Project July 8-10, 2015
Went to Long Branch, NJ with our church youth to help rebuild homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy in October, 2012. This year our team worked on tearing down a house which was uninhabitable for 2 1/2 years while the owner was getting funding to rebuild.
Macy's fireworks from the roof top of Steffi's apartment building in Jersey City July 4, 2015
I watched the New York City fireworks from Steffi's roof top in Jersey City with some friends. Great views of Statue of Liberty, fireworks at Liberty State Park in NJ, and the barge just south of the Brooklyn Bridge. You could also see the fireworks on 4 barges up the east river between buildings. They were all coordinated with 50,000 pyrotechnic shells in 22 colors.
Click for video.
Steffi and SHIWO from the rear.
Note: 15 years ago they had barges on the Hudson River as well as the East River, they now seem to alternate between the two locations.
34 years ago Joanna and I went into Manhattan with Thomas to watch the fireworks in the Hudson River from the west side.
There was such a crush trying to get into the subway after the fireworks that I had put Thomas on my shoulders for fear he would get crushed or suffocated. We finally turned around and sat on the curb across the street and waited for the line to go down.
Links: 1 World Trade Center (Freedom Tower)
Sandy Hook beach concert July 2, 2015
Several thousand people gather for rock concerts on the beach every Wednesday from the middle of June thru August.
We saw The British Invasion Tribute.
The weather was great and many people hung around after the concert just having a good time.
You know you're getting old when: July 2, 2015
You know you're getting old when you have 4 health related appointments in one week.
You know you're NOT over the hill when they all turn out good and you don't have any more pills to take.
Chest pain on Saturday was from a muscle pull doing yard work Fri., Eye exam showed no change (Still can't read maps without glasses, but no signs of glaucoma or macular degeneration), Repair of tooth cap damaged in root canal is coming along (I'm paying for my dentist's retirement), passed stress test, so stent is working well.
Fly Fishing June 10, 2015
Another advantage of being over 70.
No fishing license required. Just show your driver's license.
I rushed over to Ken Lockwood gorge to get some relaxation after my stent was put in below. Hooked 2 but lost them trying to get around the rock to net them.
Doc said relaxation was good but I shouldn't be climbing over rocks and wading in a fast moving stream 1 week after my cardiac catheterization. (See below)
Gardening help June, 2015
While recovering from my stent placement, I got some help with yard work from my good friend, running partner, social advisor, spiritual advisor, accountability partner and now landscape horticulturist , SHIWO.
She did a great job on pruning my magnolia, which took most of the afternoon. I hadn't pruned the magnolia for at least 10 years. It looks 100% better.
She also mowed my 2/3 acre of lawn with my walk-behind lawn mower (4+ miles of walking). Payback for the help I gave her while she was recovering from heart surgery.
That's a true friend!
Lucky mistake June 4, 2015
Lazy mistake may have saved my life.
On my first bike ride of the season several months ago I squeezed my tires and thought they were OK. On the way home from Bound Brook (Only 3 miles but 380 ft vertical up the hill to home) I was completely winded but refused to get off my bike and walk. I checked the tire pressure when I got home and found out it was low.
It took 1 hr for the chest and arm pain to go away, muscle pain from heavy breathing I thought. I got my tires up to pressure and did the ride a couple of days later with no problem. I'm OK I thought.
Some friends said I should ask my doctor about it. He asked about family history and when I told him my Dad had bypass surgery when he was about 7 years older than I am now; He sent me to a cardiologist.
After a stress test with no chest pain but borderline results for ejection fraction they said I could have optional catheterization to see if there was a problem. However, it could break loose a piece of plaque and cause a stroke.
I first decided to skip it, but after some urging from Tom, SHIWO and Loretta, I changed my mind.
I had 95% blockage of the main heart artery, the Left Anterior Descending (LAD), (the widow maker).
Got a stent now and am feeling fine.
In August 2016 I got a final stress test, echo cardiogram and holter monitor, so I could get off the blood thinners. I got my heart rate up to 176 BPM (over my theoretical max) durring an uphill jog and didn't have any problems show up on the ECG. .
(picture to the right with holter monitor and bruses/stitches from Jogging fall [see above]).
See they found an arrhythmia. See more about it.
Guess I should knock an Everest Summit attempt off my bucket list.
See Coronary Artery Disease
FACS luncheon May, 2015
A reunion of a group of people who worked on the Bell Labs FACS (Facility Assignment and Control System) project from 1972- 200?. This project became part of Bellcore/Telcordia after the AT&T breakup in 1984. Thanks to Jack O'donohue for arranging a super get together.
Attendees: Ann Armstrong, Wolf Bauer, John Casey, Lou Casulli, Geraldine Commrade, Tony Dragoni, Joyce Dragoni, Tricia Deering, Joe Dudus, Tom Ely, Diane Feldman, Sharon Gruber, Charles Hollowell, Larry Liodice, Barbara Liodice, Dave Luber, Bob Martin, Don McBride, Carol McSorley, Jon Mikolajek, Mary Patten, Caryl Pettijohn, Ed Pinnes, Jerry Roberto, Peter Stein, Nick Strakhov, Michelle Wolberg,
Not the Watchungs May, 2015
I'm attending a Sierra Club National Outings meeting at the YMCA camp in Estes Park, CO which borders the Rocky Mountain National Park.
As my Mother told a friend after she stayed with me where I live on the first range of the Watchung Mountains in New Jersey,
"There are no mountains in New Jersey".
These and the Sierra Nevada's are real mountains.
There was a snow flurry this afternoon.
I heard a presentation which amounted to the zen of photography earlier this week which talked about keeping an eye out for interesting photo ops.
After dropping a friend at the Newark Airport this morning, I saw this interesting New York City skyline, but I could only see it from overpasses where I couldn't stop, so I went to the Ramada Plaza Newark and found a vacant room on the 10th floor with the door open and got this photo.
It is not Moonrise, Hernandez, but I was happy to get the shot.
See also:Hilltop Tennis Club Spring Cleanup - Mar 28, 2015
The Hilltop Tennis club consists of 45 members who own a single clay (
Har-Tru) court at
336 North Ave., Fanwood, NJ. We do our own grounds maintenance and court sweeping after matches, but have a professional refinisher come in every spring.
My NYC Rooftop Water Tank photos
One World Trade Center
Initial membership is a $100 refundable bond and there is a yearly fee of $140.Easter Ravioli Fest with the Rosa Family - Winthrop MA
I spent Easter with Loretta's family and their Italian tradition of making raviolis. We made 13 dozen. Flour and dough flying everywhere.
Season is late March or early April to the end of November.
See Hilltop Tennis Club in Fanwood extends an invitation | NJ.com
Winter 2015 - Snow on the first day of Spring
Snowfall March 20th 4-5 in
Feburary 2015 was the 3rd coldest since they started keeping records in 1893.
The average temperature was 21.8 deg.
The coldest was in 1934 with an average of 17.7 deg.
There was snow on the shady parts of my yard for 2 months - January 23rd to March 22nd and more on April 1.
I got at least 15 days of cross country skiing in
Washington Valley park
across the street.
For the season there were 26 days where the hi temperature was ≤ 32° F
The snowfall was 40.3 in which was above the average of 25 in. but less than last year which had 56 in.
Contrast this to the west.
"Mild Alaska Winter Forces Shift of Historic Iditarod Start."
The Sierra Nevada snowpack, critical to California's water supply, is near a historic low for early March. The water content of the snowpack was a paltry 4 to 6 percent of the long-term average.
But New Jersey had it easy compared to Boston.
I went up to Winthrop MA just east of Boston with Loretta to visit her Mother who had 8 ft. of snow in front of her house.
No room to park on the streets.
Boston Harbor frozen over.
I created two new web pages with winter tips.
Snow Removal (shovels, blowers, ...)
Including a snow pusher I made from an old hand-truck and spare parts in my garage.
Snow and Ice traction (salt, chicken grit, ...)
See Weather Statistics for this area at my NJ web page.
5-6 inches of powder in PA March 20. I hadn't done any alpine skiing in 2 years then found I could get a free season pass since I'm 70. Been 5 times in last 3 weeks. Just recovered from sore shoulders from shoveling snow now got sore legs. Free yoga at the senior center and advil helps. Turning 70 isn't all that bad.
Tree falls on our Cabin
December 11th a wind storm with 40-80 MPH gusts at Lake Tahoe blew down a 160+' tree (48" in diameter at the base) from the neighbors yard on top of our cabin. In addition to structural damage it broke a water pipe which with the rain made more of a mess.
As of June were were still dealing with the insurance company. Permits were finally done and rebuilding started.
See tree damage on the cabin page.
Joint birthday party with cousin Kathie and friend Lynn Hagen, in Napa, CA Nov., 2014
Stopped by AT&T Park the day before to get a picture
with Willie, my favorite athlete.
Laconia, NH with Loretta's Scottish Jam Group Oct., 2014
Fall foliage weekend at
Steele Hill Resort in Laconia, New Hampshire. Hosted by Art and Mary. Music, scottish dancing, hacking around on the golf course, hiking.
Classic Stuff I've Owned
Tom got my old '73 Suzucki TS-185 motorcycle fixed up so he could use it to commute to work in San Francisco. It is considered a classic. I got to thinking about other things I've owned which are considered classics now.
See Cool stuff I owned which became classic
Joint 70th birthday with cousin Kathie and friend Lynn Hagen, in Napa, CA Nov., 2014
People's Climate March Sept. 21, 2014
On September 23rd, world leaders came to New York City for a UN summit on the climate crisis, leading up to the UN Climate Change Conference, Paris, 2015.
UN Climate Summit 2014 (un.org/climatechange/summit/).
More than 400,000 people marched in New York City to call attention to climate change.
PCM was sponsored by over 850 Groups including Unions, Faith Groups, Businesses, Schools, Social Justice Groups and Environmental groups.
I marched with some Sierra Club people It was the largest ever gathering of Sierra Club members and supporters in its nearly 125 year history.Origami Exhibition
Went to an Origami Exhibition in New York with a friend and her Origami instructor. Amazing what they can do.
Surface to Structure: Origami Exhibition Featuring 80 Paper Artists at Cooper Union | Colossal.
I got more pictures for my NYC Water Tank page on the walk to and from Cooper Union at 3rd Ave .and 6th St.
Half Marathon (13.1) April 2014
I'm not a competitive runner. I slog to get my CV workouts. Last year a friend shamed me into doing a 5K. I did a 9:44/mi pace and got 2nd out of 4 in my age group, so I checked that off my bucket list and retired. This year a friend talked me into keeping her company while training (walk-run) for a half marathon. My training partner and a friend from our computer user group then talked me into running the Rutgers half. I averaged 11:57/mile (11:33 for the first 7 miles.) I'm really retiring now.
Snow and ice in New Jersey 2014
We've had bigger one day dumps of snow in previous years but a series of snow and freezing ice storms the 2nd and 3rd week in February resulted in an accumulation of 18 inches in my back yard and more in my sunken driveway.
We've had 3 days in the 50's but the top of my driveway is still mostly ice and we have more snow coming.
This season was #5 in total snowfall (56 inches) in the last 100 years,
Number 4 in days with 1 inch or more of snow on the ground (62 in New Brunswick) 66 here,
and 28 days where the high temperature was freezing or below. Recent record was 37 days in 1993-94.
My weather stats
Weather2000.com - New York City Historical Snowstorms & Blizzards
See pictures at my flicker page.
Sarasota, Florida - Christmas 2013
Kayaking, Swiming, Spring Training Games.
Went to see Steve McConnell for Christmas eve at the Church of the Palms.
34th America's Cup - San Francisco - Sept. 2013
Tom, Brooke and I got to see 2 races.
I went back the next day with Dale who had tickets for the grandstands, but the race was cancelled because of high winds.
USA started with a 2 race penalty because of a rule violation and at one point were down 8 to 1, with only 9 races required to take the cup.
The Kiwis had perfected upwind foiling, which Oracle was not doing because it required a larger (lower) angle against the wind to get the necessary speed, but this increased distance.
Oracle called a timeout and figured out they could get to the upwind mark faster by traveling a longer distance but faster on foils. They won.
Larry Ellison and his backers spent over $156 Million in the effort.
My web page on the cup
Murray Hill Canoe Club friends at the Cabin - Sunday Sept. 2013
Several of my friends in the Murray Hill Canoe Club came out to do some hiking, geocaching and sightseeing.
Brian Coan, Paul Grimshaw, Margette O'Neill, Barbara Wefing, Carol G Maclennan.
"Forward on Climate" Rally in Washington DC - Sunday Feb. 17, 2013
We took a bus from Rutgers U. in NJ to Wash. DC to join 35,000-50,000 people to protest the Keystone XL (KXL) oil pipeline and other controversial projects such as fracking, drilling in the Arctic and regulating smokestacks and refineries.
It was my first big protest rally since People's Park in Berkeley in 1971 *.
My estimation of the demographics: 20 somethings - 60%, Over 60 - 25%, 30-60 - 15%.
It took 1 1/2 hrs. to walk the 1.7 miles around the White House, in what sometimes felt like a human traffic jam on a 36° windy day.
President Obama was in Florida, playing golf with Tiger Woods.
I can't say that the Keystone XL oil pipeline is on my top 10 list of environmental, political or social problems in the world, but Big Oil's stranglehold on Washington is in my top 2 or 3 and KXL seems to be the best poster child for that right now.
* I have participated in local rallies and testified at planning board meetings and Board of Public Utilities hearings, and lobbied my congressman on environmental issues, but this is my first "big" rally.
Murray Hill Canoe Club - ADK XC ski trip - Lake Placid - Jan. 24-26, 2013
Attended the annual Murray Hill Canoe Club trip to the Adirondack Mountain Club Loj near Lake Placid.
This is the last trip remaining from many the Murray Hill Canoe Club (Bell Laboratories Outings Club) used to run.
We cross country ski and snowshoe around the ADK Loj and also cross country ski at Mount Van Hoevenberg and Paul Smith's College nearby.
The Mount Van Hoevenberg sports complex was used to host the 1932 Winter Olympics (bobsleigh) and 1980 Winter Olympics (bobsleigh, luge, cross-country skiing, and biathlon).
At our lunch break while skiing at Paul Smith's College, Mark Manske of AdirondackRaptors.org came buy and gave a presentation with some of his birds.
I got to hold Tess, a barn owl, which was nice, because my son Thomas had done research with barn owls.
More pictures at Scott's Google Plus page
See "Learning Drives Differential Clustering of Axodendritic Contacts in the Barn Owl Auditory System", Journal of Neuroscience, Thomas J. McBride, Adrian Rodriguez-Contreras, Angela Trinh, Robert Bailey, and William M. DeBello July 2008
Mt. Jo (2876 ft) is a short hike from the Loj. Avalanche pass is in the background. The white spots are not ski runs but places where trees were swept away by avalanches.
In 2009 a few of us did a 11 mile ski trip thru there in below 0 weather.
See my Adirondack page.
Christmas - Novato - December, 2012
Christmas at Brooke and Toms in Novato, CA. Oyster shucking at Tomales Bay, Segway thru Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.
Hurricane Sandy - Martinsville, NJ - Nov. 29, 2012
Date: Nov. 10, 2012
Subject: Power's back after 12 days
Video from my back yard in Martinsville, NJ at 5 PM Monday with 35 mph sustained winds. Winds went up to 50 mph about 9 PM. The rescue squad suspended operations around 11 with gusts over 70 mph.
I was lucky.
I had a few ridge shingles which blew off, the trunk of an elm tree which had died 15 years ago came down, but was far enough away it missed my house and another 30' tree on the border with my neighbor blew over but didn't hit anything. All the 60-70 ft oak and maple trees survived. A small crack in the outer pain of a window got bigger, so I'll have to replace it.
I could hear small limbs hitting the side of my house, but the larger ones fell to the ground before reaching the house.
I hauled away 6 loads of tree limbs in my utility trailer.
Weather got better so my house temp bottomed out at 45 deg. in Tom's bedroom, which I've been using because it's on the south side and get's passive solar.
Backpacking in the summer helped in getting use to surviving with no electricity (I used to tell people they need to go camping once a year so you realize that food, shelter and a warm sleeping bag is all you need to be happy), but after a week it started to get old. After 10 days I was complaining to God. Some people with older parents living with them moved to motels.
Got a great new spaghetti sauce recipe from one of the guys at the rescue squad. We had a dinner there for people with no power a couple of days ago.
On the good side I have a great new adventure story to tell my Grandchildren, if I ever get any.
Headed to Ocean City in South Jersey tomorrow with some friends to help in cleanup.
Still people in Bridgewater and Basking Ridge with no power.
See: Pictures around my place.
San Juan High School Class of '62 reunion - Sacramento - Sep. 29, 2012
I met up with three women I went thru grammar school and high school with and who were active in the Mariposa 4H club.
Karen (CLark) Crawford, Marsha (Hunting) Walker, Me, Shirley (Conkling) Isola.
Sierra Club Intro to Backpaccking - Aug. 2012
Transatlantic Cruise - England to Boston - Aug. 30 -Sep. 16, 2012
Brooke invited me on a cruise with her family that was a wedding gift from her Grandfather. It was a relocation cruise, a ship that had been in Europe for the summer came back to Boston for the winter season.
Turns out the dark cloud that follows me on cruises was no exception.
We had to duck behind the Ouer Herbrides to avoid the remnants of an earlier hurricane, we hit a overhead cable in the Faroe Islands which broke one of the masts and damaged the stack, we had to go down the middle of the Atlantic to miss hurricanes Michael and Leslie and skip St John's Newfouland.
I'd previously failed on two attempts to reach Martha's Vineyard from Newport, RI with friends on large sail boats. Once because of the remnants of a hurricane and the second time because of a Nor'etheaster.
More details to come.
See Transatlantic Cruise
Ship hit a cable in the Faroe Islands
Biking near Bethlehem PA Aug. 2012
Biking near the Lehigh River, Bethlehem PA with David McRichie, Marty Keating and George Martinelli.
Celtic Fest - Highland Games, Irish and Celtic Music Festival Bethlehem PA -Aug 9, 2012
My biking buddies, David McRichie, Marty Keating and George Martinelli went to Celtic Fest. There was a big crowd at the games and hard to see. They didn't have Kilts for my clan, so we mainly took in the Celtic Music.
Introduction to Backpacking - Donner Summit, CA - July2 2-28, 2012
Lead the National Sierra Club Outing Introduction to Backpacking out of the clubs Clair Tappaan Lodge near Soda Springs and Donner Summit.
Ellenville Ice Cave AMC Hike June 30, 2012
Ellenville Ice Caves are in SE New York just west of Poughkeepsie and the Shawangunk Ridge. Unfortunately the ice melted early this year.
Brooke and Tom's Reception - Davis - June 2, 2012
I hosted a West Coast reception celebrating the marriage of my son Thomas and his wife, Brook, last year.
It was at the Putah Creek Lodge in the
Univerisity of California at Davis (UCD) Arboretum
When I was a student at UCD in 1965 I participated in clearing a small section of brush along Putah Creek to plant an arboretum. It is now a mile and a half long garden with plants from all over the world.
Johnny McBride (93), Dad's cousin and Dale McBride, my (younger) brother, with table group names.
Visit to our GGG Grandfathers estate - St. Helena, CA Nov 28, 2011
Tom, Dale and I visited our 3rd cousin once removed, David Wight, at Lewelling Vineyards
to order another case of Lewelling wine.
The Wight's maintain the old mansion, built by John Lewelling
when he established a vineyard in St. Helena in 1864.
Ancestry: Arthur Thomas McBride Jr (1915-1996), Elva May king (1883-1966), Lewis Leroy King (1855-1914), Sarah Lewelling (1833-1865), John Lewelling (1811-1883).
Early wet snow - Oct., 2011
An early wet snow broke my favorite shrub, a big arborvitae next to the deck and my bird feeder which served as protection for the birds when the red-tailed hawk showed up.
The ag extension service told me it was gone, but a friend and I winched it back together and I tied it together with a couple of cables.
Brooke and Tom's Wedding - Staatsburg, NY - Oct 1, 2011
The wedding, hosted by the Babineau's, was held at the Dinsmore Golf Course Banquet Hall overlooking the golf course and
Hudson River at the
Mills Mansion .
Music was provided by Brook and Tom's friends.
Babineau Dance at the wedding reception was one of the highlights.
See the Wedding web page
Sierra Club basecamp trip - Emigrant Wilderness - Aug, 2011
A basecamp trip is where we hire packers with horses to take most of your gear up to a spot where we set up a basecamp and then do day hikes from there.
We left from Kennedy Meadows and camped somewhere near Kennedy Lake.
Took my pole and caught a couple of rainbows.
Outing with friends Oct 23-24, 2010
Probably dinner after a stay at the AMC's Mohican Outdoor Center in Blairstown, NJ
Bob Johnson, Dina Mulliken, Barbara Wefing, Barbare Dege, friends who frequently do the Murray Hill Canoe Club XC-ski and snowshoe trip to the Adirondacks.
West Highland Way Sierra Club trip - Sept., 2010
97 mi. 12,668 total ascent 9 days
At the end 2 of us climbed Ben Nevis 10 mi. 4,409'
See West Highland Way
Watching fireworks at Lake Tahoe from Mt Tallac July 4, 2010
Watched fireworks around Lake Tahoe from Mt. Tallac (9,735'). Had a major adventure, flashlights broke, GPS trail map was wrong, Ollie (Tom's dog) cut a paw so had to be carried down ....
See: Tallac July 4, 2010 | DonsNotes for the complete story.
New Mills, New Brunswick, Canada - Aug., 2010
Went up to check on Mary McBride's headstone which broke again.
Murray Hill Canoe Club - ADK XC ski trip - Lake Placid - Jan. , 2010
One of the most strenuous days in my life.
4 of us skied from Tahawus to Meadow Rd, Lake Placid.
11 mi. 1,280' elevation gain in 0° weather.
When I took by gloves off to get my energy bars open, by the time I got ready to put them back on my wool mittens soaked with sweat were starting to freeze.
I had wide back country telemark skis which did not fit in the tracks made by touring skis.
See Adirondack High Peaks Wilderness
New Jersey Chapter of the Sierra Club Award - Nov 2009
Outstanding volunteer award for my work for stoping unnecessary tree cutting in peoples back yard by the Electrical Utility. I got the Board of Public Utilities to amend the NJ Administrative Code to be consistent with national guidelines regarding vegetation management.
See the story at our archive.
Frosty Open - Duck NC - Oct 2009
Golf/fishing etc. outing with Bible study group to Jack Frost's place on the outer banks.
Took a hang gliding lesson at Kitty Hawk.
Berkeley to Jersey City - June 27-July 1 2009
Drove a friend's sister from California to New Jersey via I-80 in 4 days.
Got to do it again and take more time.
See routes proposed for Brooke and Tom's drive to their wedding from Davis, CA to Red Hook, NY.
Driving from Northern California to New York
Driving from Denver to New York
Sierra Club California-Nevada Outings Committee Award - May 2009
Outstand leader award based on participant feedback for our Introduction to Backpacking trip and previous outings. Thanks to my assistant Francy Rubin who got a perfect score for meals on the trip, a first for backpacking trips. Francy has moved on to be one of the outstanding Sierra Club leaders
Sierra Club Lodge Committee meeting - Oct 2008
At California Alpine Club, Mill Valley, CA
Alaska Fishing July 2008
Fishing with Ken and Chip Babineau and friends at Aniak River Lodge. Aniak and Kuskokwim Rivers at Aniak Alaska.
Caught more fish each day than I'd caught in my life up to that point.
Woodpecker feeding chick at the Cabin - July 2008
Tahoe Ski trip 2008
MY NJ ski buddies bailed out on a Tahoe Ski trip I'd promised, so it was just Tom and I.
It's payback time. I slowed down 25 years ago so Tom could keep up, now he slows down so I can keep up.
Lake Tahoe in the background from Heavenly Valley.
Off-road driving course - Rubicon Trail - Aug, 2006
Tom and I spent 3 days learning the ins and outs of off-roading from Harald Pietschmann, who trains the Army's special forces.
We finally got a real test of the 1998 Wrangler (TJ) we fixed up to make it "Rubicon Ready"
Mods: Dana 44 rear end, 35 spline axle shaft, ARB lockers front and rear,
Atlas transfer case 5.0, 3.5" Rubicon Express Long Arm lift kit, 35x12.5 Gooodyear MTR tires, sway bar disconnect.
With that ratio we can start it in-gear without using the clutch.
| ||Stock TJ ||Rubicon ||Us
|Transmission 1st gear ||3.83 ||3.83 ||3.83
|Transfer Case ||2.72 ||4 ||5
|Differential ||3.07 ||4.11 ||4.56
|Crawl Ratio ||32 ||63 ||87
It cost about $5,000 for all the upgrades, but we ended up with a jeep better than a Rubicon for rock crawling for less money considering we bought it used.
See Jeep Modifications for off-road trails
Katrina Clean up - Bay St. Louis MS - May 2006
Went down with a crew from Liberty Corner Presbyterian Church
Katrina Clean up - Bay St. Louis MS - Nov. 2005
Went down with a crew from Liberty Corner Presbyterian Church.
See Hurricane Katrina
Jason Davis and family lived with me while he pitched for the Somerset Patriots - Summer 2004
My cousin's son (my 1st cousin once removed) Jason Davis and his family lived with me while he pitched for the Somerset Patriots BaseballTeam in Bridgewater. He was a left handed relief pitcher. The patriots coach was Sparky Lyle, a three-time All-Star and Cy Young Award winner; One of the best relief pitchers in the history of the game.
Jason was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies and quickly moved up to triple-A with the San Francisco Giants. The Patriots were in an independent league not associated with any major league team.
We saw a lot of games; We went in about the 6th inning after their son Jaxon took a nap. Jason was a setup man called up in late innings to setup the closer. Took some road trips to games in Camden, Newark and Long Island.
England - Scotland - July 2003
Tom and I basically retraced the Trip Joanna and I took in 1976,
Including our cousins (John, Christine) on the Isle of Arran
Grand Canyon - April 2003
Was in Phoenix for Veronica Huang's Wedding (or was it Virginia).
So, went up to the Grand Canyon and went from the South Rim to Phantom Ranch just on the north side.
16.8 mi. 4,414' vertical.
See Grand Canyon
Okemo Ski Trip - Jan. 2003
Went up to Okemo for our mens Bible study annual trip.
While out in the parking lot testing the bindings on the racing skis Tom had given me, I felt what seemed like someone whacking me on the back of the leg with a ski pole. I had ruptured the Plantaris tendon and partially torn the gastrocnemius muscle. The shop which mounted the bindings had set them up for racing so the release setting was much higher than the DIN indicator on the binding tension indicator.
Nepal, Tibet, Tailand, Everest - Sierra Club Outing - Sep 15 - Oct 2, 2002
Went with Kathie.
Got to 18,000 ft just above North Base Camp.
We needed two people to go to advanced base camp. Another guy who was going to go with me backed out when he found we would have to pay because there was an expedition up there.
See: Tibetan Odyssey
Building a School - La Entrada, Honduras - Mar 2002
Went with a crew from Liberty Corner Presbyterian Church.
Pedro was older and smaller than I but could work circles around me.
Even with the language barrier we enjoyed working together. It's the personal connection that makes these trips worthwhile for me.
Feburary 2001 - Lost Mom.
My Mother, Jean Sikes McBride, passed away from old age and complications from Progressive Supranuclear Palsy.
I couldn't have ask for a better Mother. She dedicated her life to kids as an elementary school teacher, PTA, Cub Scout, and 4H Club leader.
She was also a Sunday School superintendent and teacher at the 1st Presbyterian Church in Roseville. See more.
1996 - It was the best of times and the worst of times.
Our Son Thomas finished off his wrestling career as New England champion, with an undefeated season, pinning most of his opponents.
He got accepted to MIT.
At his Hotchkiss highschool graduation, he received awards as outstanding science student and outstanding wrestler .
We lost my father Arthur Thomas McBride (1915-1996) to cancer and found out my wife and Thomas' Mother Joanna Chien (1947-1996) had cancer. We lost her in December.
They were both healthy people; When I asked there doctors why they got cancer, both indicated stress. Neither had any particular reason to be personally stressed.
Dad was enjoying retirement with Mom, having done a good job of financial planning.
Joanna felt a strong sense of accomplishment having raised an outstanding young man and we were both looking forward to our own retirement.
I personally think it was all the pressures of modern life in the U.S.
I often contrast how happy most of the people in Honduras (see above) were with only a fraction of the "stuff" we had. Is our "stuff" worth it?
Sailing Newport to Marthas Vineyard Sept, 2001 -
38' 82 C&C "Bravo"
Went to Block Island first night.
Nor'easter came in and we decided to go back to Newport.
Captain with a lifetime of Navy and sailing experience got seasick.
We had to get towed in by the coast gard.
Lou & Lauren Lozowski, Joan Foley, Ben Hagler, Jan
Building a School - La Entrada, Honduras - Mar 2000
Went with a crew from Liberty Corner Presbyterian Church.
Pedro and I were a team. He was older and a little smaller than me, but could outwork me without a sweat.
See LCPC Hearts for Honduras School
Going back in time. I've got to find pictures to add.
Mar. 1995 St. John, Maho Bay
Jan. 1995 - Cruise - Carnival TSS Festivale 50th birthday celebration
San Juan PR, St. Thomas, St. Maartin, Dominica, Barbados, Martinique
Sept 1994 - Sailing Club Morristown
Newport, Cutty Hunk (were to go to Martha's Vineyard)
Mar 1993 Grey Rocks, Quebec, Canada
Mar 1991 Grey Rocks, Quebec, Canada
Apr 1990 Grey Rocks, Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, Canada
Nov 1990 - Taiwan ROC - Joanna's father's funeral
Spring 1985 - Florida Disney World, Cape Kennedy,
Mar. 1984 - Club Med Guadeloupe
Jul 1983 Niagara Falls - Toronto Canada
I was doing some work for the Treasury Dept at AT&T in 1983 just before divestiture
(the break up of the Bell System) and this check came thru.
Some people made copies and gave me one.
Aug 1981 New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Canada
Feb 1980 Disney World
4/21-5/6 1978 - Belgium, France, Switzerland, Austria, Germany
Nov 24-28 1977 Bermuda
Feb 1977 Windjammer - Harvey Gamage
St. Thomas, Jost Van Dyke, Tortola?
Sept 12-24 1976 -England, Wales, Scotland.
My cousin Robbie McBride with his sheep dogs Mirk and Sweep on
the Isle of Arran
Dec 7-13 1975 Antigua
Many trips to Charlottesville, Virginia to visit my girlfriend Joanna Chien
in grad school at the University of Virginia (UVA)
I met her when she joined the co-ed softball team I was coaching at
Aug, Sep 1975 Niagara Falls, Quebec
July 1975 North Plainfield flood
Something like 4 inches of rain in 4 hours caused the Watchung dam to break and Stony Brook going down to North Plainfield looked like the Colorado River. I was on my way to work and was blocked by flood water but a man motioned for me to come up into his driveway where I waited out the storm.
When I got home the water was up to my basement door and water had poured into my basement with about 2 feet left.
Several people died. Several cars had been swept down the brook and were deposited upside down in N. Plainfield.
1975 San Antonio -
12/22/74-1/3/75 Georgia, Florida
1973 - 4th of July - Presidential Range hiking with the Murray Hill Canoe Club
We stayed at the AMC Huts in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
1972-74 - Various backpacking and canoe trips with friends and the Sierra Club,
in New Jersey, the Catskills and Adirondack Mtns.
Summer 1971 - Mount Shasta 14,180'
A friend who volunteered at a home for socially challenged men asked me to lead a climb of Mt. Shasta to give a couple of them some confidence and adventure.
The men got a little nervous when they saw the signs at the Forest Service building at the base which said you could die if you weren't prepared.
When we tried to set up basecamp at 10,000' they were having trouble breathing from the thin air and thought they were dying. After a long night we got them down to the Sierra Club Horse Camp at 7,884' and continued the climb ourselves. We did summit and then had hustle down, skiing thru the skree and talus to make it down before sundown.
Summer 1968? - Humphrey's basin backpackWater Skiing Lake Tahoe - 1966
Sheep & Pigs- 1956
Lead first backpacking trip with 2 buddies. That was before I had Sierra Club training and had never camped or hiked above 7,000'.
Went from San Francisco to Bishop then up to the North Lake trailhead at 9,270' elevation. Then over the 11,000 Piute pass.
When we got to our campsite and started to cook dinner, no one was hungry. We all had altitude sickness.
45 years later I organized a Sierra Club outing to the same place.
Bummer Lamb Greased Pig
My first sheep was an orphaned lamb I got from the Johnson farm.
I caught a greased pig at the Sacramento County Fair.
Videos You Tube donsnotes2, Mystery,
Cicadas, Cruise ship transfer.
I would not make a real friend join facebook to see what I'm up to, despite the fact that as of 2014 57% of the U.S. population and 71% of U.S. Internet users have facebook accounts. (See Social Media Site Usage 2014 | Pew Research Center)
31% of seniors (65 and older) use facebook.
Some of my best friends, many of whom are IT professionals, do not have facebook accounts (good for them.)
See some of my complaints about Facebook.
I Am Who I Am
What I've been looking into recently at donsnotes.com
Flickr: dtmcbride's Photostream
Table of Contents:
Party Weekend - Aug-2015
Fall Foliage NH Oct 2014
Snow and ice in New Jersey Feb 2014
Florida - Christmas 2013
34th America's Cup - San Francisco - Sept. 2013
Forward on Climate Rally - Washington DC - Feb. 17, 2013
Murray Hill Canoe Club - ADK XC ski trip - Lake Placid - Jan. 24-26, 2013
Christmas - Novato, CA - Dec 18-26, 2012
Hurricane Sandy - Lake Placid - Nov. 29, 2012
San Juan High School Class of '62 reunion - Sacramento - Sep. 29, 2012
Transatlantic Cruise - Sacramento - Aug. 30 -Sep. 16, 2012
Introduction to Backpacking - Donner Summit, CA - July2 2-28, 2012
Brooke and Tom's Reception - Davis - June 2, 2012
Brooke and Tom's Wedding - Staatsburg, NY - Oct 1, 2011
Flickr: dtmcbride's Photostream