Happy Holidays 1998

There were no Denny's restaurants in our holiday doings this year. This is a journal of the period from Thanksgiving vacation to the first day of school following Christmas vacation. This year's holidays involved a bit of travel but mostly family gatherings.

Wednesday, November 25

I awoke at 5:15 AM and headed for our marina for a 6:30 AM meeting with Jimmy Sosna and his wife, Linda Keech. We headed out on a beautiful chilly (high 30s) morning. The water was just right in the Cape May rips. Jimmy and Linda caught two short stripers. I had one good runoff. Because of our impending trip, I headed in at 11:00 AM, leaving biting stripers behind. I called our insurance company to report the theft of about $350 worth of fishing equipment from our boat the previous week.

Cathy and I left on our trip to see Bill in Tennessee at 1:30 PM. We ate dinner in the Hagerstown, MD area at a Pizza Hut at about 7:00 PM. We quit driving at Lexington, VA at 9:45 PM and stayed at a somewhat shoddy Ramada Inn. During the night a loud thunderstorm crashed by.

Thanksgiving Day

I awoke at 5:30 AM and slept in until 7:20 AM. As we checked out I discovered that we were still over 300 miles from Knoxville. We stopped across the street at Aunt Sarah's Pancake House for breakfast. Due to a "new girl in the kitchen", I only got half of my order and we waited for a long time to eat. The traffic was much lighter as we headed south. We ate lunch at Davy Crockett's Truck Stop in Greenville, TN. Most of the other patrons were enjoying Thanksgiving feasts in the smoky haze of the dining room. Cathy had a chicken filet sandwich which was a long time coming. I had a bowl of grits sans beurre and an english muffin.

We arrived at Bill's apartment at about 2:15 PM. Bill took us for a tour of the University of Tennessee's campus. Then we walked along the Tennessee River. It was a beautiful day. We checked into the Holiday Inn and then went to the Hyatt to eat in the restaurant in the open lobby. Bill and Cathy ate from the turkey buffet while I had salad bar. The crowd was sparse, but the food was OK. We went to see "Enemy of the State" - entertaining action.

Friday, November 27

I awoke at about 7:15 AM. I bought some bagels and coffee in the lobby and brought them to the room. After we ate we called Bill at about 9:00 AM. We brought him some breakfast. Then we headed toward Gatlinburg. In 1981 I vowed never to go back to that horrid place; too bad I weakened my resolve. We spent a couple of long hours in stop and go traffic heading through Pigeon Forge and circling Gatlinburg futilely looking for a place to park. When we finally got back to Pigeon Forge we ate lunch at a Pizza Hut. Then we bought towels and bedding for Bill and us at an outlet mall. We followed that with a game of miniature golf (Bill won). Then we headed in two cars toward Blacksburg, VA. About halfway, in Bristol, we stopped to eat at Pizzeria Uno. We finally arrived at Tom and Katie's at about 9:15 PM. Tom's friends Matt and Randy were there as well as sister Jennifer and her boyfriend Ryan. Tom has installed an awesome sound system for his TV and VCR. I watched the end of "Mercury Rising." The surround sound was great! Katie and Tom gave us their bedroom - we had a great sleep on their comfortable bed.

Saturday, November 28

We awoke at 7:30 AM. Everyone but Matt had stayed overnight so there were bodies strewn all over. Tom, Katie, Cathy, Randy, and I rode to the Red Lion Inn in Tom's Blazer and then walked four miles on one of the bike trails. Tom picked up Jennifer and Ryan and we all enjoyed brunch at the Red Lion Inn. When we arrived back at the apartment, three of us took showers. Then we all walked to the Virginia Tech football stadium. The weather was perfect! There was a sparkling blue sky, 75-degree temperature, and a mild breeze. The only problem was that the Hokies blew a 22-point halftime lead and lost to archrival Virginia. Tom and Katie served a post-game banquet. I had pasta while everyone else ate steak. We talked to Alex after dinner and then viewed "Backdraft" - much better with surround sound.

Sunday, November 29

We awoke at 5:15 AM sans alarm. By efficient action we were off by 5:56 AM. We ate a quick breakfast at the Waffle House in Christianburg. The traffic wasn't too bad so we made good time. We stopped for lunch at Bowmansville, PA (pizza, of course). We finally got home at 2:40 PM. It was 70 degrees with calm winds when we arrived. The bay was flat and beautiful. We went to Radio Shack to replace my watch battery and ended up buying a new watch. I had lentils and rice for dinner.

Monday, November 30

I awoke at 6:00 AM with Cathy. The temperature was 54 degrees. I rode my bike to the Marina, cleaned the porta-potty, opened the boat, moved the eels from the minnow bucket to the eel bucket, and drove to the gas dock. I had to get the marina owner, Bill, to help me get gas because the bait shop was closed. Jimmy Sosna and Pat Wolf joined me at about 9:00 AM. We went to the rips, overfalls shoal, and brown shoal. Then we headed back to the rips. Scott ("Garbo") hailed us and said that the stripers were hitting bucktails. Jimmy caught three keepers and several throwbacks. Pat caught a throwback. I foul-hooked a dogfish at brown shoal. I caught a 24" throwback striper and a tiny winter flounder in the rips. The water got pretty choppy by the time we quit at about 4:00 PM. Pat and Jimmy went off to filet the fish while I cleaned the boat. I rode my bike to North Beach gym. I lifted weights and then Cathy and I did Becky's aerobics class. We swung by Jimmy's to pick up our fish and headed home. Jimmy borrowed the boat keys to get his cell phone that he had left in our cabin. Grilled striper always tastes good!

Tuesday, December 1

Long school day. I went to Dick's Sports in the evening to buy fluorocarbon leader, four bucktails, and some Fin-S soft baits. I rigged the bucktails when I got back to the office.

Wednesday, December 2

I awoke at 6:00 AM with Cathy. I put a drop of superglue on each of the knots of the rigs from last night. I created my Telecommunications final examination and prepared two handouts for my GEB class. I also processed some email. I went over to Jimmy's to retrieve my boat keys. Then I rode my bike to North Beach for weightlifting and Becky's aerobics class. After lunch the rug cleaners came so I headed for Jim's Bait and Tackle. Earlier at North Beach, Bob had given me a check for $120. I decided to replace a rod and reel. I bought another Corsair 400 and a St. Croix rod similar to the one that was stolen. The total was $180. Because of the full moon there was an extremely low tide at 12:30 PM. I didn't feel safe about going out until after 2:20 PM. I carefully headed out to the rips. There were only a couple of boats out there. I fished two poles, one with an eel, one with a bucktail. Around 4:00 PM I caught a 30" striper on a bucktail with my new rod and reel. I headed in right after the sun set and the moon rose. We went to Becky's 6:00 PM aerobics class and then I filleted and cooked the striper (part of it). Delicious!

Thursday, December 3

Long school day. Dean Henderson called me at 7:30 AM to ask me to stay another year. I told him that I would think about it but explained that I was looking at a seven-year chunk for my next venture.

Friday, December 4

I stayed in bed until about 6:15 AM. I discovered from email that my colleague, Andy, did not get tenure approval from the president. I put on my aerobics stuff and brought fishing gear intending to go to aerobics and then fish. I drove right by the gym and went to the marina instead. I fished the rips and overfalls shoal from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. It was 73 degrees for a time, so I stripped down to a tank top. The first fish that I caught on an eel would have tangled my other line fishing a bucktail so I let it get away; it was probably a keeper striper. I caught two other stripers - a short one and a 24" one, both on bucktails. I also caught a horseshoe crab couple and snagged the bottom. I gave the boat a good cleaning when I came in. I met Cathy at Becky's 6:00 PM aerobics class. We went to Alethea's for dinner - good meal, somewhat pricey.

Saturday, December 5

I slept in until 7:14 AM. I spent some time investigating some plagiarizers in my telecommunications class and then we went to Becky's 9:30 AM aerobics class. We did a marathon shopping session at ACME ($174) before returning home for lunch. We drove to the Garden Mart in Rio Grande to try to get a large wreath, but they didn't have it in yet. By early afternoon, the temperature was in the 70s and the air was still. There was some fog out on an eerily calm bay. I paddled down to the canal. I had pizza for dinner. We viewed "Horse Whisperer" - chick flick, but somewhat entertaining.

Sunday, December 6

I awoke at 7:10 AM. I did some email after breakfast. It was warm, clear, and calm with fog over the water. We went to Carol's 9:00 AM aerobics class. Afterwards we shopped briefly at ACME and Dollar Store (for a basket). When we got home, I asked our neighbor Tom Broszka if he wanted to go fishing (Cathy didn't want to go). Tom was interested, but had an errand to run so we met at the boat. I had stopped a Jim's Bait and Tackle to buy two bucktails and a block of ice. We got gas and headed out the inlet. It was a bit foggy but calm and warm. We spent our day chasing birds. We saw lots of breaking stripers on the surface. Tom caught a bunch of stripers, including a keeper. I caught a 30" and a 35" bluefish. The bigger blue put up quite a fight. Back at the dock, Tom filleted the fish while I cleaned and closed the boat. Tom gave us both filets - I guess that they don't like fish. We grilled one filet - great! We talked to Alex and Katie. I did some schoolwork before bedtime.

Monday, December 7

I awoke at 6:00 AM with Cathy. I processed email and worked on web pages for a while after breakfast. The 6:00 AM temperature was 61 degrees! It became sunny and clear, but windy (from the southwest). I rode my bike to Becky's aerobics class preceded by weightlifting. Afterward I mailed the 54 Xmas cards Cathy had written. I ate lunch when I arrived home. I did a wash and finished the insurance claim including getting a couple of sheets notarized. Then I went for a paddle down to the canal. Maybe this was the last time for the spring wetsuit and sandals. We went to Becky's 6:00 PM aerobics class - it was a sweaty one.

Tuesday, December 8

Long school day. I went Xmas shopping at the Hamilton Mall during late afternoon and early evening. I found out that my colleague, Liz Adams, didn't get tenure. I had my telecommunications class write an essay on plagiarism. The students took a hard line.

Wednesday, December 9

I awoke with Cathy at 6:00 AM. It was still raining and windy. I finished researching the plagiarism in my telecommunications class. I sent emails to two project groups. I notified one group that they would receive 'F's in the course. The other group will receive 0s for the NDAS project. I don't think that everyone in the second group was involved. I told everyone to respond to me in writing by Tuesday. I drove to Becky's aerobics class (preceded by some weightlifting). I returned home, ate lunch, and did some schoolwork. A bit later I cleared the dune of trees. Then I wrote a one-page response to the dean, VP, and the president. I'll send it off tomorrow. I don't expect anything of it. The sun went down clearly at about 4:35 PM. We went to aerobics at 6:00 PM. Melissa was subbing for Becky. The workout was so-so. Joanne called and talked to Cathy.

Thursday, December 10

Not so long school day. I sent my statement to the dean, VP, and president. I talked to my student plagiarizers before class. Only ****** in the first group plagiarized. He will get a 0 for the chapter. The second group stole the first group's Chapter 3 and a couple of chapters from a similar project from last year. They didn't seem to think that it was such a big deal. I told them that I would decide on Tuesday. I left campus a bit before 4:00 PM. We went to Carol's aerobics class. After dinner I did some schoolwork.

Friday, December 11

I awoke with Cathy at 6:00 AM. The wind was blowing 15-20 mph from the NNW as predicted. No fishing today I guess. I did some email. Then I got all of the Xmas stuff out of the attic. I got out the "Bill" and "Cathy" aerobics ornaments. Also, I prepared an ice-pak containing two packs of striper filets. With that stuff in tow, I drove to Becky's 9:30 AM aerobics class. I gave the ornaments to Greg for the North Beach tree. I rode the stationary bike and lifted weights before class. Bobby Beers didn't come to the gym while I was there so I brought the fish back home. After lunch I did some more schoolwork. I called the trash people again about the can of paper they didn't pick up on Monday. I put some thought into tomorrow night's remarks and wrote a few notes on the back of a business card. I reread the last dialogue of GEB for Tuesday's class. I had pizza for dinner. We helped at bingo where I called the second half.

Saturday, December 12

It was 35 degrees when we awoke around 7:45 AM. The wind had finally died down and it was sunny. It could have been a good day to go fishing, but we were heading for Shippensburg. We were on the road about 9:40 AM. We stopped for lunch in Ephrata, PA at a Pizza Hut. We arrived in Shippensburg a bit before 3:00 PM and drove up to the summit of South Mountain before going to the Crawley's "B&B." We all went to Chambersburg Country Club to the retirement dinner for John Martin, Bud Miller, Morris Rill, and Dick Weller. Jim Sieber did a good job planning the event. I had a vegetarian dinner. After dinner I spoke for a while about the department and the retirees. Each retiree spoke. Jim talked first and Fred acted as an MC. It was good fun and great to see everyone. We spent the night at the Crawley's.

Sunday, December 13

We slept until about 7:10 AM. It was overcast and chilly outside. Margaret served a professional, B&B-style breakfast. The view out their back windows is great: open fields, trees, and South Mountain in the background. We left at about 9:30 AM. We decided to come back via the AC Expressway and the GS Parkway. We stopped at Chilis in Deptford for lunch. On the way down, Cathy called our voice mail to find that our wreath was ready. We stopped in Rio Grande to pay for and pickup the wreath. It was too big for the RAV so we returned later in the Jeep. In between I emailed Liz Adams about the opening(s) at SU. She could be a good fit there. We put lights on the wreath and discovered that it is too heavy to carry up the ladder or attach in a normal way. It was cold (44 degrees), rainy, and windy, so we quit for the day. We cooked some of the tuna that my student, John Schaible, gave me. It was good. I felt as though a cold was coming on and went to bed early.

Monday, December 14

I awoke at 6:00 AM with Cathy. It was 39 degrees with a stiff north wind. There was a small craft advisory and predictions of 6-8 foot seas. No fishing today! As the sun came up, the whitecaps on the bay were evident. I attended to email and then drove to North Beach for stationary bike, weightlifting, and Becky's aerobics class. Afterward I mailed a Xmas card and sent a package to the Bialas family via UPS. Then I went to Handyman Haven and bought a pulley and some big nails. I ate lunch and then hung the pulley with a big nail. Using the rope I bought last night, I wrestled the wreath up and tied it off on the gas pipe at the rear of the house. I tried to stabilize the wreath with some more nails, wire, and staples. I used the hood of the Jeep to stabilize the bottom and plug-in the wreath. I ran the three extension cords to the deck and used some more staples.

Tuesday, December 15

Short school day. We finished GEB with lots of food. I went Xmas shopping at Victoria's Secret during mid-afternoon. I found myself standing by a rack wondering what I was looking at. I decided to buy one for Cathy and wait for one of the following on Christmas morning:

Oh, what a nice _________.

Why did you buy me a ________.

The blanks might be filled with nightgown, slip, peignoir, or God knows what else. The clerk that check me out didn't help by mentioning the name of my article. I escaped as soon as I could.

We went to Kathy's 5:00 PM body sculpting class and Carol's 6:00 PM aerobics class.

Wednesday, December 16

I awoke at 6:05 AM. I graded a lot of homework and projects. Then I rode my bike to North Beach for some weightlifting and Becky's 9:30 AM aerobics class. After I rode home I graded a bit more and then ate lunch. After lunch I went to the marina intending to go fishing for a couple of hours. Imagine my surprise to find Anaerobic out of the water! I emptied the toilet and stowed gear. I brought the cooler and some lines and fenders home with me. I cleaned that gear when I got home. I graded more projects during the late afternoon. We went to Becky's 6:00 PM aerobics class. Afterward we picked up a pizza. I graded some more. I had trouble locating one of the projects for my GEB course.

Thursday, December 17

Short school day. I got all of my grading done and turned in my grades about 3:00 PM. I left campus by 3:15 PM. Hopefully I won't return for a month. I sent out grades via email during the late afternoon. We went to Carol's 6:00 PM aerobics class.

Friday, December 18

First day of vacation! I awoke with Cathy at 6:00 AM. The wind was howling from the west at 15-20 mph with gusts up to 25 mph. I did some email and then went to Becky's 8:30 AM aerobics class (one-shot early class). I returned home for lunch and then put on my wet suit, got some fishing stuff off of the boat, and drove to Wildwood Crest. The west wind kept the ocean pretty flat but also might have blown the baitfish offshore. I waded in about thigh deep and cast a bucktail with Fin-S. I didn't see any working birds or fish. I stayed at the beach for about an hour and a half. Then I went to the toll bridge. I fished the Wildwood side with a crippled herring lure until 4:00 PM. I caught a 12" striper. I went home and showered. Then we went to Becky's 6:00 PM aerobics class. then I took a third shower. We ate dinner at Karen and Rei's in Avalon - good food, well served.

Saturday, December 19

I awoke at 7:17 AM. It was sunny and 44 degrees with a south wind about 10-15 mph. We went to Becky's 9:30 AM aerobics class - interval training. We followed this with a marathon-shopping spree at ACME as we prepared for Christmas hosting. After lunch I donned my wetsuit and went to Wildwood Crest for some fishing. The surf was pretty rough. I stayed in the surf for about an hour. Another fisherman in a wet suit showed up in his truck and hit the surf. No fish. The I went over to the toll bridge and fished until shortly after sunset. No fish. I came home and showered. Then we headed to the Whitebrier for the Vo-tech Xmas party. The buffet dinner was tolerable. We sat with Jenn and Ray Agostini and another young couple. We danced and socialized until about 9:30 PM. Then we went to Joanne Galloway's house to attend Joanne and Karen's party. We hung in there until after midnight.

Sunday, December 20

I awoke at 7:30 AM. We went to Carol's 9:00 AM aerobics class. Then I took my second shower and we went to church. Father ****** gave an especially lousy and confused sermon. We went to brunch at the Ebbitt Room compliments of Joanne. It was so good that we decided to bring the family back next week. When we arrived home, Bill had arrived. With Bill's help I put up four floodlights, two of them painted red and green by Cathy using magic markers. I spent an hour or so casting out on the beach. I caught nothing but seaweed. We went over to Tom and Joy's and were joined by Jim and Fran Lewis. They gave us a white pine that I have to plant. We viewed "The Negotiator" - good action, good plot, good movie.

Monday, December 21

Winter Solstice! I awoke at 7:00 AM. I rode my bike to North Beach, lifted weights, and took Becky's 9:30 AM aerobics class. After I rode home I rigged the spoon lure that Tom had given me the night before. Then Bill and I went to Pizza Hut for lunch. Afterwards we bought a fresh cut "concolor fir" at a tree farm (route 9 North, turn left at Fat Daddy's). I headed to Wildwood's beach while Bill did some shopping. I didn't catch any fish, but I was in the surf and the fog. I went to Becky's 6:00 PM aerobics class. We grilled striper for dinner - it was Bill's first striper meal. Bill had trimmed the Christmas tree and things looked very festive. We viewed "Six Days, Seven Nights" - pretty lame; also we viewed "Halloween H20" - in the spirit of 1&2 - good stuff.

Tuesday, December 22

I awoke at 6:10 AM. Cathy stayed home sick today. The west wind was blowing hard and blew all day. Bill and I took the 8:40 AM ferry to Delaware. Bill dropped me off at the Center for the Inland Bays and headed out shopping. I worked on the CIB computers and succeeded in getting the network to function properly. I also gave Ed a little training on Web page maintenance. Bill came back at 2:30 PM. We took the 3:20 ferry back across a rough Delaware Bay. The highest wind gust at home was 35 mph. We lost another strip of flashing on the north side of the house. I went to Carol's 6:00 PM aerobics class. We had pasta for dinner. Afterward we viewed "Dr. Doolittle" - surprisingly funny and entertaining.

Wednesday, December 23

I awoke at 6:10 AM. The temperature was 23 degrees at our house and in the teens inland. The wind had calmed down to single digits and the bay had settled also. I did some email before driving to North Beach. I lifted weights, rode the stationary bike, and took Becky's aerobics class. When I got home I planted the white pine that Joy and Tom had given us. Then Bill and I went to Pizza Hut for lunch. We stopped at K-mart and Staples for some fishing stuff and Xmas shopping. then we went to Westside Wholesale to pick up the turkey that we had ordered. I rigged the two poppers that I had bought, donned my wetsuit, and headed to Wildwood Crest for some fishing. I fished for a while until my hands were frozen. I drove to the toll bridge and was just getting out to cast when a vehicle going up the bridge stopped, honked, and the driver told me that there was a bird blitz in the Crest. I rushed back and parked at Captain's Table. the birds were there but just out of reach. I ran and walked along the beach. I tried a popper but couldn't cast it far enough. I switched to the crippled herring and caught a 15" striper.

We went to Becky's 6:00 PM class. Tom and Katie arrived during dinner. We were enjoying fennel and tuna (caught by my student John Schaible). Tom and Katie joined in. We viewed "Dirty Work" - funny, a guy's flick.

Thursday, December 24

We awoke at 7:30 AM. The four of us went to the gym. Katie, Cathy, and I went to Melissa's aerobics class. Mark gave us a bunch of free workout cards for the kids to use. There was a lot of ice on everything and the temperature didn't go above freezing. We ate lunch at home. Then I wrapped presents. We made a run to the video store; when we returned, Alex and Phil had arrived and the company was complete. We went to 4:00 PM mass (50 minutes). Cathy and I prepared a great Caribbean-style striper dish - striper filets covered with bananas, pears, dried cranberries, and Hawaiian marinade. We had a side dish of packaged black beans and rice. The whole meal was delicious. We watched "The Santa Clause" - kid stuff, but sometimes humorous and "Can't Hardly Wait" - funny, sophomoric humor. The tree was surrounded by presents as we went to bed.

Christmas Day

The big day had arrived. I awoke at 7:10 AM to a sunny, cold morning. After a quick cup of coffee, I broke some logs free from the ice and built a fire. The family straggled down and ate light breakfasts. Soon we were ready for presents. I acted as "Santa" and distributed the gifts. I got a new coat and pillow from L.L. Bean. Cathy got a sexy nightgown from me (so now I know). Alex and Phil got me two white shirt and tie combos. After the gifts, Bill and I cooked a pancake breakfast served with L.L. Bean maple syrup. Then we cut bread, onions, and celery and got the stuffing prepared. We got the turkey on at 12:20 PM. Then I went fishing, catching nothing. When I got back we played our new game, "Movie Trivia"; I quit early to peel potatoes. We sat down to dinner at 6:20 PM using the plates that Bill painted for us and the platter that Katie painted for us. The meal was great. After dinner we played Balderdash - Cathy and I won. We viewed Bill's new movie, "Animal House" - always in good taste.

Saturday, December 26

I awoke at 7:10 AM to an overcast, cold (25 degrees) morning. It was 16 degrees in Wildwood and 82 degrees in Miami. Phil and I took the Jeep to the gym. We were joined by Cathy and Katie for Becky's aerobics class and then by Bill, Alex, and Tom for gym work. I had pizza for lunch while everyone else had turkey sandwiches. Cathy and I went to the Emlen Physik house to get six house tour tickets. During the early afternoon we all played "Balderdash" with Cathy reading. It was an amusing game with Katie and Bill tying for the win. We headed to Cape May for the 5:00 PM start of the house tour sans Bill. We managed to visit 11 houses. It was funny to see all of the henpecked men being dragged through the houses by their women. Then we went to Colliers Liquors and Cocina Rosa, where we were met by Bill.

The wildlife highlight of the day was seeing a red-tailed hawk being mobbed by three crows near the end of our driveway during the afternoon.

Sunday, December 27

We awoke at 7:00 AM to a chilly (28 degrees), sunny, calm day. We went to Carol's aerobics class. The rest of the gang, except Alex, came to the gym later. Cathy and I left after class, changed, and headed for church with Alex. I had discovered that the outside water valve in our bathroom doesn't shut off. Also we discovered that the outside water pipes had burst in two places. After church we headed home, picked up the heathens, and went to the Ebbitt Room for another fabulous brunch. Afterward I went to our beach and cast until dark. Meanwhile, back at the house, the power went out for 3.5 hours. We lit lots of candles and played "Balderdash" - I won. We ate sandwiches for dinner and lit a fire. Finally the lights came on. Tom and Katie packed their car in anticipation of an early start tomorrow. Phil showed us his nephew's web site. Pretty extensive for a two month old kid. We viewed "Perfect Murder". I had already seen it. Alex tried to sneak in "Horse Whisperer" - the men vetoed the movie.

Monday, December 28

I awoke at 6:00 AM after hearing Tom and Katie arise. They departed about 7:00 AM in the rain. I drove to the gym for weightlifting and was joined by Cathy for Becky's aerobics class. Phil and Alex arrived around 10:00 AM. We all had pizza for lunch. Phil and Alex departed in the rain around 1:30 PM. The remaining three of us loafed around for the rest of the afternoon as it rained outside. Cathy and I went to Becky's aerobics class. I had lentils and rice for dinner. We viewed "The Newton Boys" - good story, well done. Katie called to get the Cincinnati Chili recipe.

Tuesday, December 29

I awoke at 7:20 AM to a damp, dreary morning. We hoped that Al's Plumbing would be coming this morning to fix our leaky valve and upstairs toilet. I drove Cathy to her Doctor's appointment in Somers Point. When we returned we ordered food from Italian Affair because the plumber hadn't yet arrived. Finally, Anthony and another plumber came on site. The other guy replaced two 90-degree joints on the outside pipe while Anthony fixed the upstairs toilet and the downstairs valve. Anthony also took a water sample for testing. The day remained dreary and rainy so we hung out indoors. Bill left for Coatesville at about 3:30 PM. I went down to the bay to cast (no fish, of course). When I came back in I prepared letters of recommendation for Liz Adams for CNJ, NOVA, and James Madison. We went to Carol's 6:00 PM aerobics class. Afterwards we viewed "The Spanish Prisoner" - weak, and "Bad Dreams" - terrible.

Wednesday, December 30

It was snowing and blowing when we got up at 7:55 AM. The west wind was howling at 15-25 mph with higher gusts. The snow was mixed with rain. We drove to Becky's 9:30 AM aerobics class. Afterward we went to Wildwood for lunch at Pizza Hut and to buy a present for Tom's birthday. I also bought a new pair of kayaking gloves. When we got home I worked on my course web pages. I also cleaned Mr. Coffee and the electric teapot. Cathy set up an appointment for an updated will. We went to Becky's 6:00 PM aerobics class. My right knee hurt so I began the class with two steps. I discovered that it hurt when I locked my knee. I put the third step back on after a few minutes. We viewed "Hope Floats" - chick flick. The wind was still howling in the 20s (mph) as we turned in.

Thursday, December 31

I awoke at 7:15 AM. The temperature was 25 degrees but the wind was calm. It began as a gray day. We drove to Melissa's 9:30 AM aerobics class. Melissa is getting pretty good. We went to ACME, Gorman's Liquors, and the Lower Township Trash Facility. We had lots of recyclables to get rid of. After lunch we heard from my sister Joan that my niece Joan gave birth to a premature, 4 pound, 2 months early, baby girl, Elizabeth. I went for a kayak paddle in the 28-degree cold. Ice formed on the bow of the kayak. My index fingers froze up so I only got to Cox Hall Creek before turning around. Toward evening the wind started to blow again. We had a long wait until Carol's party started at 8:30 PM. We worked on tallying some statistics for 1998. Then we went to Carol's party. We had a "pot-luck" dinner consisting of some delicious food. I was on the winning team for "Balderdash." We got to bed at 3:00 AM.

Here are the statistics for 1998:
Trips in the boat: 52
Dinners out: 74
Video rentals: 90
Kayak trips: 85
Aerobics classes
Becky: 171
Carol: 83
Other: 36
Total: 290
New Year's Day

I awoke at 8:00 AM. The wind was howling and the temperature was 32 degrees. We went to Carol and Jan's aerobics class at Island Fitness in Avalon. The class was from 10:00-11:00 AM. I cooked pancakes for brunch. Mmm, mmm, good. Except for the wind and cold it is a beautiful day. We drove to Atlantic City and parked at the Hilton. We walked to the north end of the boardwalk. It was about a six-mile round trip. It was cold and windy on the boardwalk, but we were dressed for the weather. We saw a beautiful sunset over the ocean. We also saw one of my students, Mike Capito, ice skating with a young woman. Then we headed to Leed's Point to the Oyster Creek Inn. They have a stuffed striped bass from 1988: 38" and 44 pounds, a real fat cow.

Wildlife note: I saw five hawks on the way to AC, four red-tails and one northern harrier. Also we saw a brant in Absecon Inlet.

Saturday, January 2

I awoke at 7:00 AM to a 16-degree morning. We went to the first half of Becky's interval training class. Then we picked up Don and Bernie at the ferry terminal. We spent some time talking at home and then went to the Lobster House for lunch. The wind had picked up after lunch so we toured by auto. We drove around Cape May, to Sunset Beach, and out to Reed's Beach. Then we dropped them off for the 5:00 PM ferry. We shopped at ACME and headed home. We had striper Caribbean for dinner in front of a warm fire. We viewed "Jacob's Ladder" - weird, but good, and "Mouth of Madness" - weird, not so good. The wind blew as we went to sleep.

Sunday, January 3

After a fitful night of listening to the east wind rattling the big wreath on the back of the house, I arose at 7:55 AM. It was 55 degrees, raining, and blowing hard. We went to Carol's aerobics class. We changed and went to church and then to Dock Mike's. When we got home we took down all of the Christmas decorations. Then we took down the wreath. I was glad to have Cathy's help. The weather cleared and it got a bit cooler. By the time the sun set it was sparkling clear with a 5-mph west wind. The new year promises to bring excitement and change; I can't wait!

William G. McArthur