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Archive for the tag “the beach”

The Great Aunt Sue

Well,if you have been following many of you have mentioned the nice pictures lately. They are due to the Great Aunt Sue!

My sister Sue loves to come down and spoil the girls (and be a kid) as often as she can. She checked into our B&B about 2 weeks ago and every one had a blast! We love it when she visits as its kinda a vacation for my wife and I…

Catching some zzz's at the beach

Catching some zzz’s at the beach

as she takes over entertaining the kids (and we don’t have to pay her!)

Rather than bore you with my commentary, poor jokes and bad typing I thought I would just tell the story with a few more of her pictures.

First, Aunt Sue is an amateur photographer, with a camera that puts mine to shame. Her’s takes pictures when you press the button! She loves to take pictures and we are the benefactors of them. I mean she took 100’s of pictures! And that was just at dinner the first night.

So without further adieu, let me introduce you to the Great Sue!

Welcome to our house Aunt Sue!

Welcome to our house Aunt Sue!

The girls got to practice their dancing…


And they also went to the park a few times.


Dylan literally climbes like a monkey…


…dress or no dress!

The girls also got a chance to go to the local pool.

Being the beginning of summer Dylan had lost some of her nerve in swimming that she had from last fall in Jamaica…


But it didn’t take long to get it back!


It wasn’t long before that fearless, crazy girl showed up again!

Five years old an Fearless!

Five years old and Fearless!

You do remember that fearless girl from Jamaica last fall, right?

Skylar had never been the water lover Dylan is, although she loves it too!


She just hasn’t had as many opportunities to practice her swimming, being 2 years younger.


But with the help of our Great Aunt Sue new Nanny she found her inner fish too!


The girls also got to play dress up!


Then! Dress up like divas!


Don’t know who to blame for this, Great Aunt Sue or the new nanny!


There was even a Gladys Knight sighting….

Her Supreme's imitation: "Stop! In the name of love..."

Her Supreme’s imitation: “Stop! In the name of love…”

The girls were all smiles and hated to see her go!

"You're the BEST sister ever!"

“You’re the BEST sister ever!”

Everyone kid should have a Great Aunt Sue!


That's all folks! Come back and see us....

That’s all folks! Come back and see us….

Desperately Strong Like Susan

Good news!

I got the reports back from my tests last week.

What tests you ask? 

I had to do a CAT Scan and a Bone Scan last week to see if my cancer spread to my lymph nodes or bones.  I was at an all-time low last week (as an old friend used to say). The fact that I had to do these tests in the first place was depressing. I am too fit, too young, have too many darling young ladies looking to me for answers to have cancer. How can this be?

And the doctor wants to see where else it went? I wasn’t supposed to have any cancer in the first place! I wasn’t prepared for good news; it’s not how these last months have gone.

So I walked into my doctor’s appointment yesterday prepared to see what else they found. My wife and I were both very nervous, with the uneasiness about our futures. The doctor finally walked into our waiting room and announces, “I have some good news!” 


You made a mistake?

I’m cured?”  

Well, the news wasn’t that good. The doctor said the cancer had not spread to any other part of my body. He said, what he found was that I have arthritis in my big toe (no surprise) as well as some in the swell of my back. That was news to me but, honestly, if you would see me get out of bed some mornings it would be no surprise. I just associated it to old age.

But in the end, the good news was a BIG relief. I sighed a heavy sigh. No other cancer cells anywhere. I can have it all removed.  I felt like I had a new lease on life; lots of great, great feelings.

Now I feel like I am walking on sunshine, just like Katrina! Que the video for my actual mood…..

So my doctor laid out some options for me. Options! I now have options!

I can have surgery or one of two forms of radiation. The end result is the same but the side effects will vary. You would do me a favor and NOT look up side effects to these procedures. Trust me, they are humbling. But I do have the options. This situation can be cured. I have breath in my lungs at the end of this. And I STILL I do still get to see the smiles on my 3 girls  and provide for them for years to come. And I would take that over a few side effects lasting a month or two any day, any week.

So it was a bit of good news Tuesday. It felt like a burden lifted from my shoulders. I was happy when I left the this Doctor’s office for the first time, ever! Let’s do this I thought !

You know you feel kinda naked, lying on those x-ray tables, figuratively. I thought these images will show ALL my nasty little secrets. What else will they find? Ulcers? Blood Clots? Other Tumors?

You know what? The reports told me my 50+ year old body is mostly “unremarkable”. Unremarkable! That’s what the reports said. A mere mortal after all.

For grins, here is a listing of some of my naked secrets revealed by my two high priced body scans; such an invasion of my ultimate privacy…

  • “Lung bases are clear” Thank you Lung Association!
  • my “gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, and adreanal glands are unremarkable
  • bladder is normal” Phew, I was worried about that based on all my ‘supplemements’. I wonder if ‘normal’ is better or worse than ‘unremarkable’?
  • bowel dilation….there is no free fluid or free gas” …despite what my wife will tell you..
  • “the (my) prostate seminal vesicles are grossly unremarkable.” What’s up with that? That’s the way it reads. It sounds like a ‘whole lot of nothing’ concerning my prostate….grossly unremarkable  The doctor says it is sick and wants it for his collection.
  • Focal increase uptake in the right foot around the (big toe) …degenerative osteoarthritis or inflammatory arthritis such as gout.” Gout?! WTH? Gout?
  • what about my 70 year old shoulders….” a mild uptake in shoulders over some sumpthing sumpthing joints, a frequent degenerative pattern. This is symmetric.”Degenerative? That’s it for these worn out joints? Degenerative?
  • and the best one of all, “No areas are suspicious for metastatic disease related to the patient’s prostate cancer.” Translation, these degenerative old bones don’t show any sign of cancer. Yeah!!

So it appears I am unremarkable! Good news in the medical imaging field I suppose. It’s still a bit of a bubble-burster when all my life I have striven to be a little extra-ordinary.

As far as thoughts and prayers go, I have one thought…


thank you

You want more good news? 

Have you been outside recently? It’s practically summer! We’re making plans to go to the beach this weekend!

Anyone who has kids knows the summer solstice is practically upon us as the kids are waking up earlier and going to bed later and later each night. So break out the flip flops and come mingle your toes with some sand this weekend with us. Its Summer time! Let’s work on some tan lines!


More good news? 

I was paying bills last night and I looked out my window. Here is my 5 year old daughter trying to wrestle her 7 year old male neighbor to the ground. He was just standing there. It was Dylan that kept on falling off of him to the ground. It looked silly.

I just stared out the window for a minute or two. It was endearing to watch as our first miracle child is getting older, turning into a playful and wonderful little girl. PLUS, I know how hard she can body-slam! Trust me! I felt I had to watch out for the little boy. He was wearing glasses!

But here in our new address she has kids her age on both side of us, and many more riding their bikes down our street. Our girls can have so many friends here in our new location. Schoolmates…. in the ‘burbs. It does my heart good to think of the possibilities.

That is……for 5 or 6 more years…. until this 7 year old boy turns into a teenager…. just 2 years older than Dylan.



Someone find me a realtor!

I wanted to send a shout out to fellow blogger, Susan Lindau (Susan’s Wild Ride) who is undergoing surgery to remove cancer in her one breast on Friday. Susan is the one who frequently offer ‘blogger mixers’ where fellow bloggers can mix and mingle and meet new friends.She’s a lot of fun, always upbeat and takes you on her wild ride of life.

If you are inclined to pray for other people please remember Susan in your thoughts today. While there are cures available now its never easy when dealing with cancer; an emotional Wild Ride.


Susan is heading into her procedure fully optimistic, with grand plans after its all over. You can’t keep this woman down!

So good luck Susan! I hope to be Susan Strong when my time comes too.

Summertime Rocks!

I heard this old song on the radio this morning that instantly took me back. It was a song from my youth. Do you have those memory jogging songs that take you back to a particular place and time? The song was ‘Back in the Saddle‘. The record that it came from was Aerosmith ‘Rocks‘.

I was so taken back by this song I thought I might do an album review! What’s that? Album? Maybe even change the whole format of this blog to record reviews? I am kidding of course.

What’s so special about this record? This is probably my favorite Aerosmith record. it was their fourth effort and probably the hardest rocking one they ever put out.

More importantly, to me, it was released in May of 1976. I listened to it. My friends listened to it. It was quite the edgy record in 76. And its songs catapulted me into the one of the best times of my life!

Yes, Back in the Saddle and Rocks reminded me of my best summers ever, the summer of 1976. This was the year I spent most of the summer with my best friend in Stone Harbor, NJ in his house right across from the ocean.

I was 14 years old and just completed my 7th grade. Stone Harbor is on the south Jersey shore, close to Cape May. There is no Snookie. It is filled with nice kids and  great families from the Northeast who were fortunate enough to have summer homes on the coast. More residential then touristy, the coastal retreat had a small town feel while still being on the edge of the tourist section in New Jersey.

Previously, MY family made the trip to the coast for one week each year. These were the things, along with Christmas, that I looked forward to each year at that young age. That year, however, I was able to spend about half the summer in an ocean front house with my best friend, John Himes, and his family. I was officially a beach bum!

I could get use to this!

What a summer! It was a summer of excitement and a summer of discovery and new experiences. It was a taste of ocean front coastal living with a family that was not on a budget. And what an impressionable age to experience these new things! As you can tell, it made a lasting memory!

The age when we were realizing what summer meant, being a kid, getting a little more freedom, more mobility and independence to roam, a little bit more money in our pockets to spend how we wanted.  At least he did. We wore our favorite pair of faded jeans, cut off and frayed to the bottoms of our pockets (it was the 70’s after all) and our perceived coolest tank tops. We also were starting to notice all the other types of Junior High girls out there!

It was the Year of Summer Hits like: Silly Love Songs’, ‘Afternoon Delight’, and “If You Like Pina Coladas’  remind me of this summer too. Peter Frampton had his Live album and ‘Baby I Love Your Way’ and ‘Do You Feel Like We Do’ filled the airwaves. There was ‘Play That Funky Music White Boy’ and forgettable songs like ‘More, More, More (how do you like it)’,  ‘Fly, Robin, Fly’ and (gulp) ‘Disco Duck‘. It was the summer of Blue Oyster Cult’s ‘Don’t Fear the Reaper’ plus this cool 4th record from that new group, Aerosmith, called ‘Rocks‘. And it was the summer of JAWS! Imagine seeing Jaws while spending the your summer at the beach.

This summer was playing all day under the warm summer sun in the ocean, playing in the waves over our heads, riding the waves, perfecting our body surfing to a fine art, noticing the cute girls on the beach our age, and then coming home to a refrigerator full of new snacks. I ate my weight in Bugles that summer! We took pride in toughening up the soles of our feet across the hot street to the ocean for the hot beach sand and getting the deepest, darkest tans we could under the hot summer sun.

Catching some waves…

It was the summer of our nation’s Bicentennial. Remember that? There were festivities planned all summer across our nation climaxing to a fun and spectacular July 4th week, weekend and evening celebration. There was so much to do and Red, White and Blue was everywhere in every conceivable fashion, manner, trinket and souvenir. Their were so many festivities that year; more than this old boy can recall.

the Bicentennial Silver Dollar

It was that summer I lined up on the right field foul line to race other kids my age to the other end  of the field for some 4th of July festivities. I won that race. My buddy John came in second. To this day that trophy is still the biggest trophy in my trophy case.

Later that day was the Home Run Derby. Here, I was looking forward to showing everyone my little league skills from back home. Plus, Shawn, the friend of Carol, who was the friend of John, was at the HR competition. I spied Shawn a few times on the beach that summer with Carol. Shawn might have been the cutest girl I had ever seen! (to that point in my young life) Summer days were somehow brighter when she was at the beach.  Had she noticed me at the HR Derby? Did she remember me? I was the fast kid earlier that day. I had my name called over the PA system at the awards ceremony earlier that morning.

Swinging for the fences

So at the HR Derby I tried to hit the ball so hard I that I barely hit it at all. I glanced over at Shawn in between each pitch to see if she was watching me. While I didn’t win this time I thought I heard Shawn and Carol cheer encouragement for me. She must have known who I was I thought! And that was enough intrinsic rewards for me.

That summer, we would walk 20 blocks downtown to see the other kids staying in Stone Harbor all summer. They were short blocks and we had fun the whole way down and back. Once downtown, I was instantly accepted by these kids because John knew all of them, he was bigger than most of them, and I had that dark summer, live-at-the-beach tan (and the way cool cut-off jeans).

We played roof top miniature golf, went to lots of places I had never been before, and walked in all the summery souvenir stores. I fantasized about owning all the trendy t-shirts, with the decals ironed on them, back to school in the fall as my badge of honor to what I did that summer. It was on those walks home from downtown that I discovered the full moon never moved from its position over the ocean, no matter how far north or south we walked. How could anything be so big I thought?

We would walk over to the ocean front hotels and look around. We saw other families on the go, trying to fit their summer vacation into one week. We walked around, pretended we were older than we were, went to the places only the locals knew and felt about as important as any 14 year old could feel.

And then we would wake up early, to the sound of tennis balls hitting the neighboring tennis courts, eat English Muffins on the deck while watching seagulls sit atop the beach pylons and live the life of a kid at the beach all over again.

This was the summer that persuaded me to pursue a degree in Hotel/Motel Restaurant management and then move to the beach after graduation. Have I mentioned I am a bit of a beach bum?

Which brings me back to the summer-sun setting on this post, back to reality and back to the brink of this year’s summer season.

Please let this post be my WordPress Summertime V-card to all of you. I really hope you find a memorable, fun and exciting summer this year too. Make it happen! Make it one of your favorites and one of your best. Make some summer plans, try new things, stay fit, fun and fabulous, meet new people, reacquaint with your best friends from your past, stay optimistic in what you can do, and take time to notice the great things all around you. Its summer after all! Have a Stone Harbor summer! I hope it ROCKS!

What has been YOUR favorite all-time, Aerosmith Rocks summer?


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