A Fourth to Remember


After a wonderful Independence Day, we relaxed on the back porch, with bagels and coffee. It was 90* already, so thus the Las Vegas coffee mug.
We were resting from adventures of the 4th. Maggie baked cupcakes

To take down to our fireworks adventure. The company I work for opens up the property, right along the river, and provides bratwurst, sides, porta potties, a cooling center ( a sprinkler), and a secure spot, DIRECTLY across from the launching site of the largest fireworks display in the state.

We invited some friends, and, in our ‘designated’ spot, set up our party.

Food, friends, and fireworks- what more could one ask for, on a summer evening? Everyone had a great time, and, much oohing and ahing ensued.


When the finale finally faded away, we headed out into the fray of traffic, but we all made it home, to start thinking of next years colorful adventure…





Well, it is almost finished!


We finished the build part of our porch yesterday. A rousing success, after 4 days of working on it. As my friend Jeff said, ” no lost fingers, we are still friends, and, it looks pretty darn good, for two amateurs”. And, he’s right. Now, we have to sand, stain, and install the lights, and landscape, but the hard work is finished.
   Thanks, Jeff. It wouldn’t have been done without you.

Ah, snow…

We finally had a good old winter storm.  It had to come. We knew that. Doesn’t mean we have to like it…

The first real snow like this has a bit of magic.  It also informs you that winter is here. Really here.  Get used to it.  So, we have no choice, but to accept that the earth is asleep for the next couple months. On the bright side, no pun intended, the days will start being brighter, lighter, longer, in a few weeks.  All hail the Holly King.

Make the most of the Yule season, my friends.  It comes but once a year…

Dinner out @ the hip spot

last night, (Saturday) we took my sister in law, who is in town from the big city, to a hip local restaurant. Called Brio, it’s one of the best places we have to show off, food wise… It’s a ‘small plate/tapas’ style establishment, with a great staff.

We each ordered something different from each other… We started with hen of the woods mushrooms on pasta, olive oil, and garlic. A lot of garlic. I had never had that species of mushroom before, but, I will have them again! Mary had in chili sauce. She loved them. Maggie and I don’t like scallops. Yuck… Maggie had a asparagus tempura. The girls loved it. I don’t like asparagus either… Yeah, I know, what a picky eater…
Next, we had spicy asian noodles, but not too spicy. Fresh beans, mushrooms and onions chopped into it. Mmmm mm. Maggie had chicken lemon crepes with a nice reduction on it…. Mary skipped this round… We did share with her… A little.

The last course was a great mini ribs on a chipotle corn cake for me. The girls decided to skip this round, I should have, ‘cuz I was already stuffed, but, they are sooooo good! By the way, these are not ‘full’ plate meals, sort of half size…

For dessert, Mary a blueberry bread pudding. Talk about tasty/sweet. I had the ever popular, traditional creme brulee’. We did share with Maggie, but she was the sensible one, and decided not to order any more…. I did push the sweet meter over the top by ordering a ginger ale. Huh, what you say? A Canada Dry to go with this? Nope… Brio makes their own ginger ale. Not too sweet, but what a bite. Mmm mm.
We stayed for over 2 and a half hours, sipping wine, coffee, and talking about everything under the moon, since it was dark out. Our waiter, Dan, has served us before, and is a great guy, along with being a wonderful waiter. He and his partner had gone to France since the last time we were in, so there were stories to tell and hear.
Mary had a great time! Said it was every bit as good as anything in NYC that she has visited. Cool! Next time, we’ll try somewhere she hasn’t been to.
If you are close to Rockford, and want a really nice dining experience, try Brio. I know, sounds like a Yelp review, but it is a nice place!
Thanks for reading my rambling….

My Yearly Whine/Rant About my Heritage

Every year I tell this story. I’m not sure if I’m trying to come to a conclusion, or just a better perspective of the situation.  Bear with me, as I attempt to figure it out.

I was born in 1954, and two yrs later, my parents divorced. I never knew my father. I have no memories of him that come to me.   It was a nasty seperation, from what I can get from my mom. She remarried, and, from that point on, we didn’t speak of my father. I liken it to Lord Voldermort, in the Harry Potter series… ” he who must not be named”… I did learn that there was going to be a sharing of me, but, after he remarried, his wife put a quick halt to that. Absolutely no communication with me was the new rule. For what reason I do not know, he complied. I never saw him again.

He was full blood Irish. A member of the Irish Marching Society, here in town.  I always wondered how the Timothy Michael mashed up with the not Irish name. It explains a lot to me. Blood and genetics are much thicker than I thought.  Some things I have been drawn to, and aspects of my personality are now much more clear. Go figure…

Fast forward to my adult years. In my 30’s, I wondered where my father was.  Since he had made no attempt to contact me, I took it to mean that he had no desire to find out what I had become. I checked the local phone book on a whim, and to my surprise, he lived 6 blocks away from where I was renting an apartment.  I was curious, so I drove by a couple times, on the chance he would be out. No, he wasn’t ,but, I did discover that we drove the same car. Mmmmm, same neighborhood, same car…. This is a bit spooky… I never stopped to see him, thinking that he wasn’t interested.

Several years later, we were watching the 6 o’clock news. A house fire was covered, where the man of the house, perished. They then gave the name of the victim. Wait! I should know that name… I do… It was my father. Even without seeing him for over 45 years, it brought me to a standstill.  This is surreal, though I’m not the one who just died, or lost a husband or father I knew.  Guess the decision to make contact or not, has been decided now.

My wife and my sister, who is a half sister, different fathers, decided to go to the visitation to see the people who didn’t want to see me, ever… Not to cause trouble, but out of curiousity.  They went. It was a bit odd, but everyone survived it. I did not go, because I didn’t want to stir up any animosities to go with the grief they were feeling. Also because I wasn’t sure how I felt about the whole thing. One half sister, same father, didn’t know I existed. “we’ll have to get together”… I texted her a couple times, giving her an out of not actually talking to me. She never did…

It does kind of nibble at me… What if… What if we spoke or reconciled. What if one of us had made the move. Would anything be different?  Would either of us be better for it, or would things be better left alone. A half a century is a long time to try and make up for, or change. Some things are better left alone…. Is that an excuse or common sense?   Never getting the chance to ask “how come” to him? Would either one of us come to a better place for that?

The one point that over and over shakes the foundation is this… As my wife was at the visitation talking to the sister that didn’t know I existed, the sister said, ” ah, now I know who the picture of the little boy named Timmy was, on my father’s dresser”!  Whew…. Changes my perspective of it all, or at least shakes it up quite a bit.

No fair…

Not this year…


so, last week, I was doing my dog & pony show, here @ work. A very sincere show, btw, for a tour group of prospective customers.  Later, the sales rep came back, and told me that I was the best salesman that the Co. has.  Whoa, that was unexpected.  Nice.

Today, I was informed that I am not up to snuff enough to receive a raise this year. “If you received one last year, you won’t receive one this year”.  Well, don’t think that didn’t inspire me….  I don’t understand.  I’m here constantly. I really care about the quality of the product, and that the customer receives what he needs & ordered. I work through lunch, and long hours.

Short of offering up my wife for carnal pleasures for management on a weekend retreat, I am not sure what I can do to increase my stature, or pay…

Summertime, and the livin’ is easy. . .


well, Solstice is just a couple days away.  For the last month or so, the birds, the sun, and us, have been up earlier and earlier.  I love this time of year.  It’s like a rejuvination or recharging of the soul.  Faster, longer, brighter days are on the horizon for the next month or two.  Then, it starts that long slide into winter.   Out of the two seasons we have here, this is my favorite.  

Get out and enjoy it!