Happy Holidays 2001

These notes record the events of the period from Thanksgiving to New Year's Eve.

Wednesday, November 21

I awoke at 6:00 AM with Cathy. I was still dripping salt water from my sinuses and snored all night. Cathy was ready to ship me back to Key West. I dropped Cathy off at her school and then headed home. I worked on updating my log for the Rum Runner 2001 page on CapeMayBeach.com and getting my journal caught up. I had hundreds of emails to process and 10 saved phone calls to return. By the time I had done all of this, I had to hurriedly shave and shower, pack, and load the car. I picked up Cathy at about 12:30 PM. We headed to Doylestown with a stop for a latte at Commodore Coffee. Traffic was light and the trip was easy. Bill and Stacey were already at Katie and Tom’s when we arrived. Alex, Phil, and Erin arrived at about 6:00 PM. We all went to Roman Delight for dinner. I ate my usual pizza. Some of us stopped at Starbucks on the way back. We watched “Shrek” on DVD before turning in fairly early.

Thanksgiving Day

I awoke at 7:00 AM. We had slept on the pull-out bed in the living room. There was a lot of foot traffic on the second floor overnight which caused much creaking on the hardwood floors. We had decided not to run in the 5 mile race in Langhorne. Tom and I went out to get bagels and Starbucks stuff. After breakfast, we all went downtown. Tom and I ran the Castle to Castle 3 miles while the others walked. The morning was chilly, but quickly warmed up. Blue sky and sun prevailed. I took charge (pics: 1, 2)  of the kitchen for the Thanksgiving feast and had a lot of willing helpers. Cathy shopped for sandwich stuff for lunch. During the afternoon, Alex and I had a nice 3 mile walk in the neighborhood while Tom was put in charge of peeling and boiling potatoes. We sat down to the meal at 6:15 PM and everyone enjoyed the banquet.

Friday, November 23

I awoke at 7:00 AM.  Tom and I repeated our bagel/Starbucks run for breakfast. Tom, Phil, and I left around 10:00 AM for a bike ride. We had to stop to rent a bike for Phil. We started to ride at 10:44 AM in Lambertville, NJ and headed up the tow path of the D&R Canal. It was a beautiful day and I wore just a T-shirt and jeans. We arrived in Frenchtown at 12:15 PM and ate lunch at a restaurant on the tow path. We walked our bikes across the bridge and headed south on the busy highway. After a couple of miles, we entered the tow path of the Canal on the PA side. The trip back was even more beautiful than the trip out, but seemed to take longer somehow. We had to really hustle to get back at a reasonable time.  Cathy was pretty mad when we returned because we were so late. Bill and Stacey had left for Cape May during the late morning and we were supposed to meet them for a 7:30 PM dinner at Water’s Edge. We got started around 4:00 PM. I needed gas and had to double back 8 miles to get it. However, we arrived home at 6:34 PM in plenty of time to get cleaned up and changed for dinner. Dinner was excellent as usual. Afterwards, I gave Bill and Stacey my evening tour of Cape May on the way home. We watched a bit of T.V. before bedtime.

Saturday, November 24

I awoke at 7:30 AM.  It had rained overnight, but it was warm and sunny and calm. We went out to Dock Mike’s for breakfast. Then we drove out to Cape May Point and Sunset Beach. We stopped in at Corey’s tent and picked out a large photo for a housewarming present for Bill’s new house in Indianapolis. Then we drove into Cape May and parked the car. We went to the craft show at Convention Hall which was a loser. Then we walked to the Physick Estate and did the 12:30 Christmas tour. I really hate house tours, but this one wasn’t too bad. We walked back and tried to eat at Louie’s Pizza but it was too crowded. We ended up at Stumpos where I had a calzone. We headed back to the car and back home. We watched a bit of football before Bill and Stacey left around 4:00 PM. My left thumb is infected due to a broken blister from Rum Runner 2001. I’m trying to care for it as I did with my last basal cell removal. Overall, I wasn’t feeling too good, so I chilled out on the couch for a while. We picked up a pizza at Louie’s. We talked to Alex before eating. During dinner, we viewed “Memento” – very interesting and well-done.

Sunday, November 25

I awoke at 7:00 AM.  Cathy went to Carol’s aerobics class while I ran for six miles. After the run I worked on getting my journal up to date. We ate lunch in the solarium. The day turned kind of nasty with overcast sky and strong wind, so we did some shopping. We had a pasta dinner while we re-viewed “Memento”. I understood it better the second time around. We talked with Bill after dinner.

Monday, November 26

I awoke at 6:00 AM with Cathy. It was mild, calm, and foggy. I talked to Jimmy at 6:50 AM and we arranged to meet at the Miss Chris. I packed the Jeep and headed to the marina at 7:10 AM. Chris, the mate, said that he had about 15 anglers on board, but the numbers increased as I boarded and set up spots for Jimmy and me. We ended up on the middle of the starboard side. Jimmy drove in at about 7:45 AM. The Miss Chris sailed at 8 AM with a fairly full boat. We headed out the inlet in the fog and fished around a clammer with fish breaking. Others caught fish there, but we didn’t. We kept moving around and ended up off of Wildwood. Jimmy caught two stripers, one keeper and one slot. We accepted a charity slot. I finally caught a keeper. Clams were the bait that worked the best. The guys on the bow were constantly bailing fish. They were using clams and rigs similar to ours. The fog lifted around noon. I was wearing shorts and sandals with layers on top. I was somewhat chilly, but it was tolerable. When I got home I packed away two meals in the freezer and marinated the striper for this night. We went to Becky’s 6:00 PM aerobics class. Afterwards we shopped at ACME. We had a fabulous striper meal.

Tuesday, November 27

I awoke at 6:00 AM with Cathy. It was another calm, mild day. I decided that I would run some errands today and take care of some other details. I talked with Gerry Pagano of YouSleepWithYou.com and made some changes for him. Also, I worked on the Rio Motel mailing label and networking and emailed Corey and Judy and talked to Corey on the phone. I went out to get gas, make a couple of deposits in the bank, and buy some lightbulbs at Sears. I replaced the bulb in the holiday projector. I also did some research on submersible marine radios. I ran to Sharon’s yoga class and Carol’s aerobics class.

Wednesday, November 28

I awoke at 6:00 AM with Cathy. It was another calm, mild day with heavy fog. I talked to Nancy Woodward at 6:15 AM. She has a virus (personal and computer) and wanted to know if she should purchase another virus scan product. I burned a CD with McAfee on it and headed to Wildwood Linen. Nancy’s machine was infected with SirCam32 and refused to run programs. I followed the manual removal instructions (downloaded from Al Beers’ computer) and was able to download the latest Norton Antivirus and run a scan. I set up Bobby’s new computer for Internet access and email. We need to move messages and address book from Nancy’s computer to Bobby’s. Nancy also wants a firewall. I said that I would download one and bring it over. When I got home and ate lunch, I purchased Zone Alarm Pro and downloaded it.  I hooked up the Canon printer, created a Christmas card, and started to print the cards. I also ordered a new submersible radio. I continued researching kayaks and found the Cobra Expedition as a possibility. I found a website with it on sale for $1300. We drove to Becky’s 6:00 PM aerobics class. I told Becky that I was ticked off that she’s changing the time for yoga.

Thursday, November 29

I awoke at 6:00 AM with Cathy. It was another calm, mild day with heavy fog. I talked to Nancy Woodward at 7:00 AM. Nancy said that she had her portable zip drive from home, so I should come over. When I arrived, I found that she had only brought the CDs and not the drive. Since it is a USB drive and 250 MB, the software is not compatible. I installed the firewall on her computer and on Al Beer’s computer. Then I drove home to get my SparQ drive. When I got back, I copied Bobby’s old email messages from Nancy’s computer. The SparQ would not install on Windows XP, so I copied the files to a computer upstairs that has a CD burner. Then I burned a CD and brought it down to Bobby’s computer. When I tried to import the email, I was offered version 4 and 6, not version 5 which I needed. Version 4 brought in the wrong messages. I finally brought the correct messages in by claiming it was version 6. I looked for a backup method for Bobby’s email, but all of my searching could not uncover the whereabouts of the files for Outlook Express. Online help was useless. XP is another piece of crap from Microsoft. When I got home I ate lunch and put a query on a BBS about the Outlook Express files. I continued to print Xmas cards. Also I continued to do research on a new kayak. The Cobra Expedition looks interesting. I emailed three kayak dealers asking for information. When Cathy came home, we replaced all four spotlights at the back of the house. Then I ran to Carol’s aerobics class via the canal. It was pitch black as I ran in the misty fog – interesting. We talked to Joe Landue about bingo tomorrow night.

Friday, November 30

I awoke at 6:00 AM with Cathy. It was foggy and warm with a promise of strong south winds later in the morning. I worked on invoices and paying my Verizon bill. I talked to Judy of Rio Motel and arranged for a phone call from her on Wednesday at 12:30 PM. After lunch I rode my bike to Cape May Point State Park and walked the beach barefoot, in shorts, and wearing only a T-shirt. With a howling south wind, it was cold; it was also cloudy. When I got back I cooked lentils and rice for dinner. Cathy had a hairdresser appointment so I headed to bingo by myself. Cathy came at about 7:15 PM. I called the second half.

Saturday, December 1

I awoke at 6:05 AM. It was a warm morning with light south wind. I headed out at 8:30 AM for a fishing paddle up the Bay. The temperature was in the 60s. I wore a short wetsuit for the water temperature and did a lot of sweating due to the tailwind. As I paddled, the conditions got better and better. I went past Green Creek and then turned around to enjoy the slight headwind. I got home around 11:30 AM. I turned on the outside water to wash things off – I have to remember to turn it off again before it freezes. We ate lunch in the solarium. After lunch, we drove to Cape May Point and enjoyed a warm walk on the beach into Cape May. We went to the art show in Convention Hall and saw Corey’s booth. Then we bought a sweatshirt for Stacey and walked up to the mall to get a reservation for Cucina Rosa. I stopped for a latte at Rick’s. It was gorgeous as we headed back. We saw Sharon and her daughters, Amelia and Samantha on the beach with wetsuits. We drove home and saw that the West Cape May parade was to start at 5:00 PM. We stopped for a DVD on the way home. I worked on a sunsets web page before we went out to dinner at Cucina Rosa. We “enjoyed” the tail end of the parade as it went by the restaurant’s windows. After dinner we viewed “Legally Blonde” – mildly entertaining, but fluffy.

Sunday, December 2

I awoke at 7:10 AM. It was cloudy, cooler, and breezy – not nearly as nice a day as yesterday. Cathy went off to Carol’s aerobics class while I did a six mile run to the Canal and back. I had a stiff north wind to contend with on the way back. I worked on the “sunsets” page for CapeMayBeach.com. After lunch we went out for some shopping in Rio Grande. We talked with Bill, Alex, and Katie. We ate a pasta dinner.

Monday, December 3

I awoke at 6:00 AM with Cathy. It was a chilly morning, but promised to become sunny and warmer. I went to yoga at the Pelican Club in Cape May. I joined Sharon, Lisa, and Maria. We were displaced by a Dickens group and had to finish the practice at Sharon’s house. It felt good to do a rigorous yoga practice again. After practice, I headed to Cape May Court House for a Cat-scan for my kidneys at Community Radiology. I saw Terri Russo in the waiting room. I questioned the insurance/cost aspect of the procedure and called Blue Cross/Blue Shield at one point. I was assured that my insurance would cover the test. I had to strip to underpants and wear a gown. The machine looked like a big bagel with me in the middle. The test took about 20 minutes. Afterward, I grabbed a latte and two bagels at Avalon Coffee. I ate outside in the warming sun. I went over to Staples for some office supplies. When I got home, I went out for a paddle to the Canal. It was beautiful on the Bay with an increasing south wind and temperature in the mid-50s. We went to a meeting of the Cape May County Pollution Control Financing Authority and then to Alfe’s for dinner. We adjourned from dinner at about 10:00 PM.

Tuesday, December 4

I awoke at 6:00 AM with Cathy. It was sunny and cool with a slight breeze. I decided to take care of Fr. Valentine’s computer problems. I arrived at the church around 9:30 AM. It turned out that Fr. Val had recovered his computer to its original state and lost all of his files. He then tried to install drivers and basically screwed up the situation. After a couple of hours of trying to rectify the situation, I recovered again and left the configuration alone. I was able to get him back on the network by 1:30 PM. I donated my efforts to the church. I stopped at ACME for three bagels and ate them on the way home. I ran to Sharon’s yoga class and Carol’s aerobics class.

Wednesday, December 5

I awoke at 6:00 AM with Cathy. It was sunny and warm. I went out on a morning paddle up Bay. I had a nice three hour kayak trip. After lunch, Judy from the Rio Motel called and we installed the new version of the program via the phone. I worked on printing the rest of the Christmas cards and on the sunsets pages for CapeMayBeach.com. We drove to Becky’s aerobics class. After dinner, I finished the sunsets pages.

Thursday, December 6

I awoke at 6:00 AM with Cathy. It was sunny and warm again, but a bit breezier. I went to Sharon’s 9:00 AM yoga class at the Pelican Club. Then I ate an early lunch and went up Bay in the kayak. There were some swells and the breeze was kicking, but it was a nice ride. When I got back, Dr. Maroldo’s office called and asked me to come in. I met with Dr. Maroldo and he said that the cat-scan showed a nephrosis of my left kidney due to a stone. He put me in touch with Dr. Braga’s office for a urology appointment. They said they do not participate in Blue Cross and the office visit would be $240. I set it up for next Wednesday. I ran to Carol’s aerobics class and felt fine. I called Marianne and talked to Bob and her about the diagnosis. Bob called a urologist friend who said that waiting until Wednesday should be OK. We cooked striper and had a good meal.

Friday, December 7

I awoke at 6:00 AM with Cathy. I could feel pressure from my swollen left kidney. I decided to take it easy today as I usually do on Fridays anyway. I put up a page of sunrises to complement my pages of sunsets. I downloaded a new map to my GPS with Indianapolis and Savannah on it. I also put the speakers on the computer so that I could hear the CD tour of Savannah. The DVDs for “Mallrats” and “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” arrived. Cathy went to Carol’s Chinese Pollyanna while I ate and viewed “Mallrats” – good for those hooked on the series; as a stand-alone effort, it’s a loser. The bonus materials are great. They were produced after “Dogma” was released, so the perspective of that movie and “Chasing Amy” were available. The comments by Kevin Smith and Ben Affleck were especially good. Bill will enjoy this DVD. I went to bed around 11:45 PM.

Saturday, December 8

I awoke at 7:30 AM. It promised to be a cool and rainy day. I didn’t feel up to any exercise anyway, so I just chilled out. We went to Pizza Hut for our traditional rainy day lunch. We dined at Marie Nicole in Wildwood Crest for a surprisingly upscale meal. Afterward, we viewed “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” – lots of good Savannah scenes. The story line was OK.

Sunday, December 9

I awoke at 7:15 AM. The NW wind was howling and the temperature was in the 40s. Cathy went to Carol’s aerobics class while I sat at home and felt sorry for myself. I could feel more pressure from my swollen kidney. We drove to Somers Point and ate lunch at the Crab Trap. Then we walked the Ocean City boardwalk. On the way back we found Karen and Rei’s new restaurant near Leaming’s Run. We shopped at ACME on the way home. Before and after dinner, we talked with Katie, Bill, and Alex.

Monday, December 10

I awoke at 6:00 AM with Cathy. I made repeated trips to the bathroom since I’m really flooding my body with water. It was a drab, cool day. My mission was to hang by the phone and try to get an appointment with Dr. Schutz, the urologist from Somers Point. I heard nothing by 10:00 AM, so I called the office. The receptionist disavowed any knowledge of me and said that they weren’t taking any new patients until February. For some reason, she asked me what insurance I had. I guess they’re programmed to ask everyone that question every once in a while. She finally saw a note and put Dana on the phone. Dana said that she’d call me later. I waited and waited. At 2:00 PM, I called the office again and was told that Dana was downstairs helping with a procedure. The voice said that if Dana said she would call, she would. I waited and waited. At 4:45 PM I called again. Dana answered and cheerily said, “I’m sorry, I forgot.” She gave me an appointment for Wednesday at 8:30 AM. Cathy went to aerobics. It’s horrible being in limbo wondering what’s happening to my kidney and the implications of letting the condition continue. I talked with Bill about a little network that he’ll be setting up in his house for Stacey and him.

I started a conversation with Carol Menz about selling off the back lot. She came over for a copy of the latest survey.

Tuesday, December 11

I awoke at 6:00 AM with Cathy. I’m still in limbo about my kidney situation. I spent some more time trying to learn about Savannah and the surrounding area. I continue to drink lots of water and urinate often. I want to exercise, but I’m afraid of the consequences. It’s very tough mentally. We grilled frozen striper for a good meal.

Wednesday, December 12

I awoke at 6:00 AM with Cathy. I shaved and showered and hit the parkway at about 7:20 AM heading for Somers Point. I arrived at the offices of Urology Associates at 8:00 AM. I waited until 8:15 AM and then went in. I was shuttled around the office for a while and finally met with Dr. Schutz (no “l”). He had looked at my film and my history. He gave me an exam including the dreaded finger and an embarrassing genital handling. I liked his professional demeanor. He decided that I've had a blockage in the ureter of my left kidney for some time (maybe years and years). He doesn't know what's caused the blockage, but thinks that any stone that might be there is a result of the blockage rather than the cause. He wants to investigate further and to see if there's any hope of restoring function to the left kidney. The best thing that he told me is that I can continue to run, do aerobics, kayak, and so on; I had stopped exercising for the past few days. I went to Shore Memorial Hospital for 4 blood tests and a urinalysis this morning. On Monday morning I have a test that requires 24 hour fast. When the results are in, I will meet with the doctor again. I stopped at Avalon Coffee in Rio Grande on the way home for a latte and 3 bagels. I ate lunch when I arrived home at about 11:40 AM. I installed Win4Lin, which allows for a Windows installation on a Linux machine. It works really well. I installed a few other Windows programs. I RAN to Becky’s aerobics class in a misty rain. It felt great to run and do aerobics again! After dinner I installed Office 2000 on the Linux machine. The book, “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”, arrived. I started to read it before bedtime.

Thursday, December 13

I awoke at 6:00 AM with Cathy. I spent more time becoming familiar with the Low Country by viewing/listening to commentaries of “Forest Gump.” I found out a lot about the area. Corey came over with a couple of photos and some ideas for the website. I ran to Carol’s aerobics class.

Friday, December 14

I awoke at 6:00 AM with Cathy. I went out for an early, foggy paddle up to Green Creek. Then I went over to Carol’s to work on her printer problem and discovered that she needed a new black ink cartridge. After lunch I worked on Corey’s changes. We helped at Bingo where I called the second half.

Saturday, December 15

I awoke at 6:30 AM via the alarm. The NW wind was howling. We took the 8:40 AM ferry to Lewes. The Bay was pretty rough, so the trip took longer than normal. Don and Bern met us at the terminal. We headed to Cape Henlopen for our walk to Rehoboth Beach. We walked for 2.5 hours with a strong north wind at our backs. It wasn’t too cold and it was sunny and beautiful, but the wind was pretty tough. We ate lunch at the Dogfish Head Saloon. I had pizza. We took the 3:20 PM ferry back across calmer seas. Cathy called Bill to see if Stacey had arrived. She was a half day late because her rental truck broke down en route. We started to view “Prince of Tides” before going to the Merion Inn for a good meal. We finished viewing the tape after dinner. Large parts of the movie were filmed in Beaufort, SC.

Sunday, December 16

I awoke at 6:30 AM via the alarm. I had to start fasting at 8:00 AM, so I wanted to get a good solid breakfast. I had my usual oatmeal, followed by a big piece of Cathy’s Entemann’s crumb cake. Before long, it was 8:00 AM and I was finished eating until sometime on Monday (around noon as it turned out). I ran to Carol’s aerobics class. On the way back, I rented “Clerks”, “Chasing Amy”, and “Dogma.” We also shopped at ACME. I drank a cup of coffee as Cathy ate lunch. I started to view “Clerks” and Cathy dozed off on the couch. During mid-afternoon we parked in Cape May and took a nice walk up the beach to the state park. It was cool but calm and beautiful. We talked with Katie, Bill, and Alex. I watched the rest of “Clerks” and also viewed “Chasing Amy” and most of “Dogma.” I’m starting to notice some little things and minor characters. I took a laxative at 6:00 PM as per instructions. I also drank a lot of water. I didn’t really get hungry and didn’t mind the fasting.

Monday, December 17

I awoke at 6:00 AM with Cathy. In spite of my fast, I slept pretty well. I made coffee, but couldn’t drink any. I shaved and showered and brushed my teeth and took off for Somers Point. I showed up at the Radiology Department at about 7:40 AM. Everyone was pleasant and efficient as I was checked-in and brought in for my X-rays. I had a lot of pictures taken. A lot of them were on a time-delay. I was allowed to leave between 11:40 AM and 1:00 PM and was allowed to eat. I went to the Circle Diner and enjoyed lots of coffee and two orders of  blueberry pancakes. When I arrived back at the hospital, I was given three more X-rays. There was a Radiologist supervising my test. At some point in the process, he (or she) talked to Dr. Schutz to be sure to do all of the desired testing. I finally headed for home at 2:00 PM.  I ate some pretzels when I got home. We drove to Becky’s aerobics class. It began to rain as we were in class.

Tuesday, December 18

I awoke at 6:00 AM with Cathy. The west wind was howling (20s to 30s) and the temperature was in the low 50s. I felt a bit under the weather myself and had a weird taste in my mouth; it was similar to the metallic taste due to the dye. I had planned to go to Sharon’s yoga class, but ended up staying in the house. I worked on making a website for selling my online journal system. I should try to automate the conversion process. We drove to Carol’s aerobics class.

Wednesday, December 19

I awoke at 6:00 AM with Cathy. The wind had calmed overnight but the temperature was in the 40s. Nancy from Wildwood Linen called with a computer problem. I went right over and did some routine cleanup and maintenance on her computer. I got her resources up to 90%. I think that Windows needs to be reloaded, but she doesn’t have the CD. She will buy a Windows 98 2nd Edition upgrade and I’ll install it after the 1st of the year. I also took a look at Al Beers computer to try to fix his problem of frequent disconnects when he’s online. I adjusted the transmit buffer speed. I stopped at Avalon Coffee for a latte and 3 bagels for lunch. Joe Monzo called to schedule me at A&LP for 9:00 AM tomorrow. I still felt a bit under the weather, so I didn’t kayak or run even though the weather conditions weren’t bad at all. I might be in a mental slump due to uncertainty about my kidney problem and the usual winter blahs. Cathy worked at GED, so I went to Becky’s aerobics class by myself. I viewed part of “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” again. Cathy arrived home around 8:00 PM. I put a happy birthday message on Katie’s answering machine.

Thursday, December 20

I awoke at 6:00 AM with Cathy. The wind really howled all day. I took some pictures of the rough Bay and started a winter solstice page. I went over to A&LP Foods to meet with Joe Monzo at 9:00 AM. He showed me his new POS system. He would like me to try to make it so that he can delete his daily sales files after he closes sales for the day and prints his reports. He also told me that there is an error on his website on the contact form. I stopped at Avalon Coffee on the way home for a latte and bagels. When I got home I fixed the problem with the contact form. Evidently Hypermart must have changed Perl interpreters which now causes an error. I also researched USB hubs and emailed Joe about both situations. I called Joe and told him my findings. I still wasn't feeling the best so I worked on my online journal system. I took some pictures of an awesome sunset. We went to Pasta Bella to pickup food, picked up Fran Lewis, and went to Joy and Tom's for a Christmas celebration dinner.

Friday, December 21

I awoke at 6:00 AM with Cathy. I took a couple of photos and a video for my winter solstice web page. Then I got on trying to sort out my medical situation. Many phone calls to Shore Memorial Hospital and Urology Associates got me scheduled for pre-admission testing on Wednesday, January 2. Then I am to pick up my pictures at Radiology and go to Urology Associates for an appointment with Dr. Schutz. My surgery (Cystoscopy left retrograde with an in and out stent) is scheduled for Friday, January 4. I am relieved to finally have it all straight. I dread the thought of the surgery, but am happy to have the plans organized. I completed the winter solstice web page and posted it. Then I packed for our trip. Lunch, shave, and a shower and I was ready to go when Cathy arrived home. We left at 2:30 PM, stopped at the bank, and headed to Springfield. Cathy began reading aloud from The Prince of Tides to help us to gain a feeling for the South Carolina Low Country. We arrived around 4:30 PM. Erin, Alex, and Phil were there. Katie and Tom arrived around 6:10 PM. We had a good lasagna dinner. After dinner, Phil, Erin, Tom, and I walked around to look at Christmas lights. Then we came back for exchange of gifts (pics: 1, 2). Cathy and I got some awesome phones thanks to Phil and Stuart. We viewed "Jurasic Park III" - laughably bad; good special effects, OK cast, no plot, probably all ad-libbed, really improbable ending.

Saturday, December 22

I awoke at 6:55 AM. After breakfast, Cathy suggested that we go to the new Kimmel Center in Philadelphia for its open house. So we all loaded into the Stoops' van and headed downtown. The building is fantastic! I took some photos of the inside and outside of the building and also inside of the Verizon Hall - all mahogany. We ate lunch in beautiful downtown Springfield. I had a medium white pizza. Cathy and I left for Indianapolis at 2:00 PM. Cathy continued reading aloud from The Prince of Tides. Traffic was light to moderate and the weather was good. We averaged 61 mph as we traveled 360 miles to St. Clairsville, Ohio for the night. We stayed at a Hampton Inn and ate at the adjoining Italian Restaurant, Undos - pretty good. We watched a bit of T.V. before retiring.

Sunday, December 23

I awoke at 5:30 AM. It was raining and the Weather Channel forecast rain for the ride through Ohio as a front moved through. We ate breakfast at the free breakfast bar. We were back on I70 by 7:00 AM. The rain continued, but was light as was the traffic. We made good time as we moved west. Cathy continued reading aloud from The Prince of Tides. Cathy called Bill on my cell phone at 9:00 AM. By then, we were west of Columbus, Ohio. We expected to be at Bill's house by noon. We stopped twice for gas and pulled up at Bill's at 11:30 AM. Bill and Stacey greeted us and gave us a tour of the house (pics: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6). We were also introduced to the cat, Boots. We all headed downtown for lunch at the center city mall. We ate at Champp's (no misprint, folks). Meanwhile, several NFL games were simultaneously shown on the many T.V. screens. We walked around the mall after lunch and I had a latte at an espresso bar. On the way home, we went to Best Buy to get a cable modem router and to Marshall's for food shopping. When we got home, Bill and I started to work on the network. We actually got the two computers networked and on the Internet via the cable modem. When we tried to install a firewall on Stacey's computer, we had a crash and I had to restore the registry. Then I got to do the work over again. We couldn't get the firewall on Bill's computer to allow Stacey's computer to see him. We ate dinner and then went to the 9:00 PM showing of "Lord of the Rings" - I really liked the movie. The cast and the special effects were fabulous as was the South Island of New Zealand where the movie was located.

Monday, December 24

I awoke at 7:00 AM. It was 19 degrees outside and the snow flurries were blowing in a strong west wind. It was good to be inside. I started with an oatmeal breakfast. Then I got Bill and Stacey's network to work with Zone Alarm as Stacey's firewall. We looked at some of Stacey's videos. At 11:00 AM, Stacey and I went over to Bally's. I ran on the indoor track. It was a great experience. I felt like I was running fast and also felt very comfortable. I only ran about 3 miles, but it was still a good workout. We returned home as the flurries continued. We all went out to lunch at a Mexican restaurant. Then we just had time for showers before heading out to 4:30 PM Mass at St. Susannah's Catholic Church in a nearby town. The church was jammed with young families. It was great to see all of these caring people having babies. It was a children's Mass and an uplifting one. We did a 30 minute stop at Wal-Mart after church. Then we went to Mountain Jacks Restaurant for dinner. The food was good, but the service really stunk. After returning home, we viewed "Christmas Vacation" - always fun on Christmas Eve.


Christmas Day! I awoke around 7:30 AM. About two inches of snow had fallen overnight and it was beautiful outside. Luckily, we didn't have to leave our warm abode. We had a light breakfast and then opened presents. I received a Swiss Army Cyber-knife as one of my highlights. Also, Cathy gave me a gift certificate for a new computer chair from Staples. I ordered a pair of conch earrings from Whitfield Jack; these were the same ones that I had tried to get for Christmas. We had a big brunch with waffles, fruit, and cinnamon buns. Then we played with Bill's new game cube. We also watched part of "A Christmas Story". We prepared and ate a Christmas feast with roast chicken, mashed potatoes, asparagus, and acorn squash. I had my lentils and rice in acorn squash. We enjoyed Stacey's pecan pie bars after dinner. We viewed "Pearl Harbor" - a chick's view of the war. We started to view "Mallrats", but Bill wasn't feeling too well, so we all went to bed fairly early.

Wednesday, December 26

I awoke at 7:30 AM. After looking at email, writing my journal article, and eating breakfast, I went with Stacey to Ballys. I ran around 4 miles at a pretty good pace. We showered when we returned. We all went to lunch at Chicago Pizza. Then we went to a mall on the North side of Indianapolis (the ritzy side). We went to Starbucks for a latte and did some browsing and light shopping. We returned home for a while and then went downtown to eat at the China Bistro restaurant. I had an excellent Szechuan tofu dish. We looked at the Christmas lights and headed back home. I loaded a couple of bags into the car and set my alarm and the phone alarm for 4:30 AM. Light snow is predicted for tomorrow; I hope it comes late and stays to the north. We started to view "Six Nights and Seven Days" but we all were too tired to finish watching it.

Thursday, December 27

I awoke at 4:30 AM with the alarm and phone. We hurriedly dressed and headed out the door into the Indiana cold and snow flurries. We were on the road by 5:00 AM as per schedule. Traffic was light as we crossed the river in Louisville and enjoyed the beautiful view of the city in the pre-dawn light. Cathy continued reading aloud from The Prince of Tides. We ate lunch in the Biltmore Mall food court outside of Ashville, NC. We made really good time until we got to I95 near Charleston. Traffic accordioned from 80 mph to stopped. It was a very frustrating end of the trip as we arrived at about 6:30 PM. We checked in at the Hyatt Regency on the Savannah River and headed to River Street to eat at the River House restaurant. The food was excellent. The temperature was in the 40s and felt chilly. We turned in fairly early.

Friday, December 28

I awoke at 7:00 AM. It was a sunny day and a bit warmer with temperature in the 50s. We ate breakfast at the Cobblestone Café on River Street. Then we got the car from valet parking and drove over the bridge into the South Carolina low country. We went to Hilton Head Island first. I stopped at Starbucks for a latte on the way in. The island is completely developed with very little public access to the beach. The whole place reminded me of Governors Club in Chapel Hill – plastic, sterile, and exclusive. I was happy to leave and head for Beaufort, a charming little town. We walked around a bit and then drove through Lady’s Island and over the bridge into Port Royal where Forest Gump’s shrimping was done. Then we went back to Lady’s Island and onward to St. Helena Island. We ate lunch at “Gullah Grub” and got some very fresh fried shrimp and a great she-crab soup. After lunch we drove to Hunting Island and its state park. We paid the $4 fee and walked on the beach to the lighthouse and climbed to its top (pics: 1, 2). Then we headed back toward Savannah and went onto Hutchinson’s Island for a photo of our hotel across the Savannah River. We drove back over the bridge and to Tybee Island. We stopped at its lighthouse for a couple of photos. Then we went to Bonaventure Cemetery; it was closed, but I took a photo over the fence. We arrived back at the hotel after sunset and turned the car in to valet parking. We ate dinner on River Street at the Shrimp Factory. After dinner we walked around the Historic District for a while. It was a mild and pleasant evening for walking. We turned in around 11:00 PM.

Saturday, December 29

I awoke at 7:00 AM. It was sunny and promised to be in the high 60s. We walked through the Historic District to Clary’s Café for a good hearty breakfast. Then we walked the entire southern third of the Historic District (pics: 1, 2, 3, 4). We headed back to the hotel for a break and then ate lunch at the Moon River Brewery. I had a good shrimp and grits dish. We knew that Katie and Tom were due at around 3:00 PM, so we walked the northern end of the district. We were around City Market when Katie drove right by us. We flagged her down and got a photo of their VT-decorated car. We walked to the hotel and met with Katie, Tom, and Jennifer in the lobby. We walked around for a while (pics: 1, 2, 3, 4) and then headed over to Lady and Sons for an early dinner. We went on a “ghost tour” after dinner and went to the Hyatt bar for a nightcap while we enjoyed a good view of the river. We turned in around 11:00 PM.

Sunday, December 30

I awoke at 7:00 AM. It was sunny again, but a bit cooler. We met Katie, Tom, Jennifer, Matt, and Mike in the lobby at 8:30 AM. I had finished a latte by then. We walked to Clary’s Café for breakfast. Everyone had a hearty meal. We walked down to Forsyth Park and a few squares. I saw a nice painting in a gallery window and took a reflective photo of the $4500 work. Then we went up to City Market and took a carriage ride around the Historic District. We ate lunch at the Moon River Brewery where I ate shrimp and grits again. Then we walked to the Telfair Museum for a tour. When we were finished, we toured John the Baptist Catholic Church (pics: 1, 2, 3) and the Owens/Thomas house. We also visited the cemetery where Sherman's soldiers did some mischief while encamped (pics: 1, 2, 3). We took a walk on River Street on the way back to the hotel. We took some nice sunset photos. We stopped in the hotel bar for a view of the full moon over the river and a drink before changing for dinner. Since I was the designated driver, I got the car from valet parking and shuttled the group in two trips to our 8:00 PM reservation at Elizabeth on 37th restaurant. Luckily we had saved the best restaurant for our last night. We had an outstanding meal with great service in a beautiful location. Mike ordered a mint julep for the group to sample. I shuttled the crowd back to the hotel and Cathy and I turned in around 11:30 PM.

New Year's Eve

I awoke at 4:30 AM with the alarm and phone to help me. I called valet parking and took a quick shower. We finished packing and headed down to check out. We were on the road at 5:05 AM. Traffic on I95 was light until we neared Washington. Cathy continued reading aloud from The Prince of Tides. We ate lunch at a Pizza Hut in Virginia. We were close to home at around 6:00 PM. We drove 790 miles today and 2575 total for the trip. We shopped at ACME for a few items and went to Blockbuster to rent a DVD for the evening. We viewed “The Gift” again because we had heard it was filmed in Savannah. We couldn’t recognize any Savannah sites. I folded around 10:00 PM and missed the ball dropping for the second consecutive year.


Running Miles: 386.1
Kayaking: 109
Dinners Out: 90
   Becky: 77
   Carol: 69
   Other: 68
    Total: 214
Pizzas: 61

William G. McArthur