Happy Holidays 1999

This was the first time on thirty years that I entered the holiday season not involved with college teaching. I had spent twenty-seven years teaching in the Mathematics and Computer Science Department at Shippensburg University (PA). Then I taught for three years in the Computer Science Program at Richard Stockton College (NJ). This journal records the events of the period from Thanksgiving to New Year's Eve.

Wednesday, November 24

I awoke at 6:00 AM with Cathy to a very foggy morning. By 7:30 AM, the fog had lifted and visibility was over three miles. I decided to use the remainder of my clam bait (left over from previous fishing trips) and fish from my kayak. I took my compass along just in case. The water was very calm with a slight current north up the Bay. I fished for about a half hour and then paddled up to about the Villas Fishing Club. In a flash, the fog closed in to about fifty feet. Luckily I had established that the SE direction led to shore and SW led along shore. I was able to navigate home. When I returned I washed the cooler, dirty from a previous fishing trip. I packed up the stuff to bring to Alex and Phil's in Springfield (Delaware County), PA. Cathy arrived home about 1:15 PM. We had driven almost to Green Creek when Cathy realized that we didn't have the pies. We headed to her school to pick them up.

We arrived in Springfield at about 4:00 PM. Our son Bill was there with Phil and our granddaughter, Erin. Cathy, Bill, and I went to Genardi's Supermarket and bought provisions. Katie and Tom arrived from Virginia around 6:45 PM. We had a pasta meal. The guys watched "Rushmore" - good the second time around. We all turned in early.

Thanksgiving Day

I didn't sleep much and neither did Cathy. I finally got up at 6:30 AM and put the stuffing bread in the oven on low to continue to dry it out. Katie and I went out for a run in the rain around 8:30 AM. Katie's foot was hurting for most of the way, but she gamely continued. When we got back, we showered and started on the stuffing with Cathy's help. We got the turkey on at 11:00 AM at 325 degrees.

As dinner neared I got help from Phil, Olive, Katie, Cathy, and Bill. The table setting was fabulous. We sat down a bit before 5:00 PM to a glorious feast. Don and Olive left for New Bloomfield, PA after dessert.

Friday, November 26

I awoke at 7:15 AM. After breakfast, Phil and I went to his gym. It cost me $10, but it was nice to get a workout. Katie's foot hurt too much for her to shop (!) so the women stayed home on Black Friday. The guys went to Borders and I. Goldberg. Then we went to Thomas' Tavern for a great lunch amidst many T.V.s. We arrived home in time to watch Virginia Tech beat Boston College to finish their season unbeaten. We men left at 6:00 PM for the First Union Center. We saw the Sixers beat the Cavs. At halftime we went to Phil's cigar bar where I smoked one of his Ashton stogies. When we got home, I ate some sherbet while the other guys ate turkey. The women were in bed.

It rained all evening.

Saturday, November 27

I awoke at 7:15 AM. I walked down to Country Bagels. It was 49 degrees and a bit breezy. Katie and Tom went to the hospital to get Katie's foot checked. Bill borrowed the RAV4 to meet his friend "Tree" for lunch. Phil left for a week of deer hunting in PA. The rest of us stopped at a frame shop so Alex could get Phil's diploma framed for Christmas. Then we went to Coco's for pizza. Katie and Tom were coincidentally already there. Katie had been issued crutches. We all went to a shopping center after lunch. Tom and I went to Circuit City while the women went to Frugal Fanny's. Tom and I took his car back to Alex's house when we tired of shopping. We got take-out for dinner from Johnny Paisano's.

Sunday, November 28

Cathy and I awoke at 4:30 AM by alarm. We woke Bill and packed the car. At 5:00 AM we headed for the airport. By 5:17 AM we had dropped off Bill and were heading for Cape May. We were home by 7:00 AM. I ran to Carol's aerobics class. After class I put up a Thanksgiving web page for Erin. Meanwhile, Cathy went to the store. After lunch we went to Peebles (Cathy) and Sears (me). I bought two floodlights and a track lightbulb. When we got home we installed two floodlights at the back of the house. The west wind was blowing in the teens so we chilled out the rest of the afternoon. We had pasta for dinner. Jim Sosna called after dinner about fishing tomorrow.

Monday, November 29

I awoke at 6:00 AM with Cathy. She forgot her ear plugs at Alex's so didn't sleep very well. It was cooler (43 degrees) and somewhat breezier. I called Jim at 7:00 AM. We decided to go out fishing. I got my stuff together and headed for a bait and tackle shop. Jim's and Bob's were both closed. I bought six eels, clams, and a couple of rigs and ice at the Miss Chris dock. Jim arrived at the boat at 8:45 AM. We headed out the canal and found it a bit rough on the Bay. As the day wore on it got windier and rougher. Jim began to feel seasick. The waves in the rips got pretty scary. We saw Garbo, Hunter, and Treemendous among the boats out there. I had a bluefish on until it bit off my line. Then I caught a 27" striper. We came in via the inlet at 1:00 PM as Jim lay on the back seat. We went to Becky's 6:00 PM aerobics class.

Tuesday, November 30

I awoke at 6:00 AM with Cathy. The wind blew hard all night but didn't interfere with sleep. It was 36 degrees when we got up. I hid out and worked on Perl programming. I ran to Sharon's Yoga class and then took Carol's aerobic class. I talked to Bill about probability theory and wrote a Javascript program to illustrate the concepts.

Wednesday, December 1

I awoke at 6:00 AM with Cathy. It was 28 degrees this morning. When I went out to get the morning papers, the wind made it very frigid. Bill called to go over some details of the program that I wrote last night. Because of the wind, I drove to Becky's 9:30 AM aerobics class. Stephanie Garrett followed me home to get her Town Bank T-shirt. I went to Steve's house to solve a computer problem with Outlook Express.

The sky after sunset was really beautiful tonight. It was a mixture of deep blue and orange. The wind persisted. Cathy accompanied me to the 6:30 meeting of the Cape May County Pollution Control Financing Authority and the dinner afterward at the Lobster House.

Thursday, December 2

I awoke at 6:00 AM with Cathy. I left for Shippensburg at about 9:00 AM. The drive took a bit over four hours. I stopped at the Camiel rest stop on the Turnpike to get a Latte at Starbucks and some fat-free muffins for lunch. When I got to Shippensburg, I stopped at D&L Gulf. I saw Terry who asked about Cathy, his former teacher. Then I drove by our old house. They've removed and cut back a lot of trees. Then I drove up to Big Flat where I stopped and got out for a moment with nature. Then I drove to campus. I saw Vonnie Mowery and spent some time with Bill Hynes. I went to the Technology Building and said hello to a few people. I had a long talk with Marty Dako in his office. He's ready to retire and plans to sail our way sometime in early July. At 5:30 PM I went to King's Inn (the old Rustic Inn and the older Fort Morris Hotel). There was a good-sized group assembled to wish Howie Bell well on his retirement. I gave him The Birds of NJ. I had a lousy spaghetti meal. Winston and I followed Morris Rill to his new mansion on sixty-five acres on Chamberlain Road. It's a very modern house, open and angular. When we got to the Crawley's, I could only chat with Margaret for a short time because of her weak voice following an illness. I was able to just say hello to young Winston. I read for a brief time and was asleep by 10:30 PM.

Friday, December 3

I awoke at 6:00 AM without an alarm. I made the bed, not knowing what else to do. Margaret served oatmeal and blueberries with maple syrup. I left at 7:40 AM. The drive was easy and took four hours. When I got home I noticed that Jim Matthews had fixed the flashing. I went to Steve's to install Internet Explorer 5.0 and Outlook Express 5. The new Outlook Express aborted just as the old one had. I imported everything into Outlook and tweaked it a bit. I was there for almost two hours. When I got home I worked on some revisions to the VideoBecky website. I ordered pizza for dinner. We helped at bingo where I called the first half.

Saturday, December 4

I awoke at 7:00 AM. The temperature was in the 50s and the wind was light. We drove to Chris' 9:30 AM aerobics class. After class we shopped at ACME. I had leftover pizza for lunch. Then we drove to Atlantic City, parked at the Taj Mahal, and walked the A.C. boardwalk - all of it. We walked the length of the Ocean One Mall while we were on our way. Cathy got a couple of blisters and we bought some Band-Aids to help. We stopped for dinner at Casa Nicola. We asked for Jim Sosna's table. Coincidentally, Jim walked by the hostess stand. He got the Maitre d' Hotel to seat us in his area. Terry, his partner, approached us first. We introduced ourselves. Jim came out with an appetizer pizza and jumbo shrimp on a bed of crabmeat. Then we had a tuna special and Chilean sea bass. Then Jim came out with a dessert tray with chocolate mousse cake, strawberry cheesecake, and fruit. We ate about half of it. After we returned home we viewed "A Thousand Clowns" which Joan gave us for Christmas - still good.

Sunday, December 5

I awoke at 7:00 AM. It was 57 degrees, clear, and calm. We talked to Katie who told us that she and Tom were getting offers from Merck. We drove to Carol's 9:00 AM aerobics class. Afterward we hurried home. I called our neighbor Tom and told him I was ready to go fishing. I put my stuff in his truck and we were off to the marina. We headed out the inlet and turned north, looking for birds. We ended up at the Avalon Lump, chasing birds around with a dozen other boats. I tried metal, a bomber, and a bucktail with fin-S. I caught two small stripers, 19" and 20", with the bucktail. I had several other nibbles. We drove all the way back to the rips which were boiling by this time. The water was muddy and fouled with seaweed. We worked next to Treemendous for a couple of drifts. Then we drifted around the Point and up past the concrete ship. I called Cathy on the cell phone and told her to defrost some striper. After a good striper dinner, we talked with Alex and Bill.

Monday, December 6

It was 60 degrees when I awoke at 6:00 AM with Cathy. I did a bit of work on the VideoBecky website and assorted emails. It rained all day. I drove to Becky's 9:30 AM aerobics class, preceded by weightlifting. Afterward, I mailed Christmas cards. I spent the afternoon promoting the VideoBecky website. I ran to Becky's 6:00 PM aerobics class. It rained for more than half of the run. I saw and heard lightning and thunder across the Bay.

Tuesday, December 7

It was 46 degrees and windy when I awoke at 6:00 AM with Cathy. I started looking at the "blink.java" applet I'd been using on my Stockton website. I wanted to improve the marquee for VideoBecky. I drove to Melissa's 9:30 AM aerobics class - pretty good. Afterward I went to ACME to send a package to my brother Jack via UPS. After lunch I completed the improvement for VideoBecky, but I have further ideas. I cleaned the upstairs bathroom. Then I rode my bike to Sharon's Yoga class. I remained for Carol's aerobics class. After I rode my bike home, Cathy gave me a check from Wildwood Linen for their website. Katie called to say they she won't be coming for New Year's. I talked to Paula. She'll call on Wednesday night about possibly fishing Thursday or Friday.

Wednesday, December 8

I awoke at 6:00 AM with Cathy. I rode my bike to Becky's 9:30 AM aerobics class. After I got home I finished the work on the marquee Java applet, "macmarq.java", for VideoBecky. I talked to Paula about fishing tomorrow. I ran to Becky's aerobics class via the canal. I felt somewhat tired during Becky's class. I had pizza for dinner. I finalized plans to fish with Paula tomorrow.

Thursday, December 9

I awoke at 5:00 AM. It was 43 degrees and calm. I stopped in at Jim's Bait and Tackle to buy eels, clams, and a striper rig. I also got two bags of ice. By the time I had everything organized at the boat, Paula arrived. I helped her with her stuff because of heavy frost on the dock. For some reason the boat in the slip at our port side was partially submerged - weird! It was still dark as we headed out the canal into a flat Bay. We started inside with some other boats and worked our way out to Scott's LORAN numbers. The bite was on, but we only got two shorts caught by Paula (26" and 27"). We watched Scott catch three fish. He gave us his last, a 28" fish which was his fourth keeper of the day. We headed out to Somer Shoal where I caught a 28" striper on an eel. We also caught two big dog-sharks and big and little skates. We went way out to Overfalls Shoal. It remained sunny and calm. I stripped to a T-shirt at one point. We did some drifts with Porgy III which looked like a prison boat with a crowd of grim-looking men bundled in dark clothing. We finally went in at 3:30 PM. The boat docked next to us was now more submerged. The sun went down as we closed up the boat. Cathy and I drove to Carol's aerobics class. Afterward, Cathy and I enjoyed enjoyed a great striper meal. More fishing tomorrow.

Friday, December 10

I awoke at 5:00 AM. It was 50 degrees and blowing from the south. I arrived at the Marina before 6:00 AM and started to open the boat. Paula arrived shortly afterward. Miraculously, the boat next to us was high and dry. We headed out the canal in the dark. The water was already rough in the rips when we arrived. Paula immediately caught a 28" striper on an eel. She also had four quick runoffs. I alternated drifts with an eel on my mid-weight pole and my spinning rod with a small bucktail. Nothing! Then I switched to my heavy rod with a big bucktail and caught three quick shorts. I switched back to the spinning rod and finally caught a 28" fish on it. The bite turned off but we stayed out until 10:05 AM; the weather forecast for the rest of the day was pretty bad. We saw a bufflehead duck in Cape Island Creek on the way to our dock. I took a picture of Paula filleting the two stripers that we caught. Paula discovered two weakfish in the stomach of the striper that I caught; I took a picture of this manifestation of the food chain.

I got home at 11:30 AM as it started to rain. I chilled out until the rain stopped and then gave the cooler and the boat's carpet a thorough scrubbing. Phil emailed two professional pictures of Erin which I put on her website. I also emailed the pictures that I took at the dock to Jim Sosna and Jamie Young, another fishing buddy. We went to the Merion Inn for dinner and had good meals. Ian, our busboy neighbor, bought us after dinner drinks (Irish coffee for Cathy).

Saturday, December 11

I awoke at 6:08 AM. The wind had howled all night with a largest gust of forty-two mph. I planned to run to the gym, but didn't feel too well. We drove to Chris' 9:30 AM aerobics class and shopped at ACME afterward. After lunch I spent the afternoon on the couch feeling lousy. I shaved and showered and dressed for the evening. We picked up Cathy's colleague, Jenn Agostini, at her house in Erma and drove to the Whitebriar Restaurant in Avalon for the Technical High School's annual christmas party. I didn't feel the best, but enjoyed the evening nonetheless. The dinner, preceded by a cocktail hour, was a buffet which wasn't bad. We did a lot of dancing and stayed until 11:30 PM.

Sunday, December 12

I slept until 7:30 AM. The west wind had diminished by not disappeared altogether. We went to Carol's 9:00 AM aerobics class. I showered when we got home. Then we headed to Wildwood to lunch at Pizza Hut. We stopped home for Cathy to change shoes and to talk to Katie by telephone. Then we drove to Cape May Point and walked down the beach to Convention Hall in Cape May. The ocean was very flat in spite of a pesky north wind. The temperature remained in the 40s, making a winter coat mandatory. I still didn't feel 100%, but walking is easy. We got home about 3:30 PM. I put on my wetsuit and vest and drove to Wildwood Crest for some surf fishing. I stayed until an hour after sunset. I saw no sign of life in the calm water. While I was fishing, Cathy talked to Alex. After I showered I talked to Bill. We had pasta for dinner. Then I called Alex. I talked to Jim Sosna about fishing and agreed to call him at 7:30 AM.

Monday, December 13

It was 45 degrees and calm when I awoke at 6:00 AM with Cathy. I didn't feel great, but the weather was promising, at least for a half day. I called Jim at 7:30 AM and we agreed to meet at the slip or the gas dock at about 8:30 AM. I stopped at the Miss Chris dock to buy some ice and bucktails. Then I went to the marina and opened the boat. I was preparing lines for the gas dock when Jim showed up early to tell me that he had a sick daughter (Kelsey). I headed for the gas dock solo and then headed out the canal for my first striper venture alone. It was cloudy and ugly, but the water was pretty calm in spite of a SE breeze. There weren't too many boats out, but Treemendous and Garbo were working around Scott's numbers. I did two drifts there and then spotted some birds working out further. I headed out there and ended up on Prissy Wick Shoal. I caught a 27" striper on a dead-sticked bucktail, but lost him due to bad net work. I netted a 31" striper on the next drift and then a 29" striper. I headed in and call Jim on the cell phone on the way. I was only out for two hours. I got caught in a heavy squall on the way in. I traded Jim a fish for his excellent filet work. I felt lousy the rest of the day and skipped aerobics.

Tuesday, December 14

I got up at 4:19 AM after lying awake for a while. It was raining and became windy. I showered and drove through the rain to Hamilton Mall for Christmas shopping for Cathy. I find that shopping when sick dulls the pain (of the shopping). I got a Latte at Borders which kept me going for a while. Once in the mall proper my mission quickly became to find some clothing or anything else that wasn't made in China. I've found out subsequently that most others don't look at labels to find out country of origin. I was amazed at so many items being from China. I guess the Chinese spent their money well in getting Clinton re-elected. I found one store with clothing from Israel and UK and a shoe store with Australian products. I never saw anything from the U.S. I ate a couple of fat-free muffins for lunch. I stopped in Dick's Sports before heading home. I almost bought a sunglass case, but it was from China. I got home around 1:30 PM. I wrapped the presents I'd found, Paula had left a message on the business phone congratulating me for a good day of fishing on Monday. I still felt lousy and skipped Yoga and aerobics. I went to bed early (again).

Wednesday, December 15

I awoke at 6:00 with Cathy. It was calm and foggy with temperature in the mid-40s. I couldn't decide whether to fish or go to aerobics. I dressed for aerobics and packed the Jeep for fishing. I drove to Cape May Point to look at the rips - flat, but foggy. I drove to the marina, but then decided not to risk the fog. I drove to the gym, lifted weights for a few minutes, and then took Becky's 9:30 AM aerobics class. Nancy asked me to come over at 9:30 tomorrow and to look at her computer which was having problems booting up. I shopped at ACME for some items and headed home. I revised "macmarq.java" to start text at the right side (surprisingly easy change). Then I ate lunch. I intended to go out in the kayak, but it stayed foggy and dreary. I went shopping at Conus Sports and K-Mart for a hiking first aid kit for Cathy and two pairs of jeans for me. The case I finally found at K-Mart was from (surprise) China.

When I got home I purchased a website submission spider for $99. I ran to Becky's aerobics class via the canal. Afterward I picked up a pizza for dinner. I submitted ComputingDoc.com, CapeMayBeach.com, and VideoBecky.com using the submission spider.

Thursday, December 16

I awoke at 6:00 AM with Cathy. I did some more submissions with the spider. Then I drove to Nancy's house down Pierce's Point Road from King Nummy Campground. The "autoexec.bat" and "config.sys" files had been overwritten by a DOS program which Nancy had run. I saved the files in a directory and then cleared them out. Fixed! I showed Nancy a few other things on the computer and left.

I had the RAV4 for the day and took it to Parkway Quik-Lube. They were busy so I went to Hidden Acres Nursery to check on live Christmas Trees. Then I went back and got the RAV serviced. I came home for lunch. Then I drove to Cape May to shop at Caroline's Boutique for Cathy, but it's only open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I drove to Church's Nursery and bought a live blue spruce tree. I struggled to get it into the house. I drove to Carol's aerobics class - Cathy was too busy.

Friday, December 17

I awoke at 6:00 AM with Cathy. It was a bit windy. I rode my bike to Becky's 9:30 AM aerobics class, preceded by weightlifting. After lunch I finished my Christmas shopping at the "Pink House". I found a neat "Key West" outfit made in America! When I got home I really didn't have the energy to do much but trim the tree. We helped at bingo where I called the first half.

Saturday, December 18

I slept in until 7:20 AM. The day was sunny and calm, but chilly with temperature about 40 degrees. I ran to Chris' aerobics class via the canal. When we got back I asked our neighbor Jim if he wanted to fish - he did. We headed out the canal before noon. It was pretty flat in the Bay and the ocean. We went to Scott's numbers and tried a couple of drifts. Then I spotted a couple of boats on upper Prissy Wick shoal. We went up there and Jim caught a 26" striper. We caught thirteen stripers in all - Jim caught eight and I caught five. We didn't get a single keeper, but it was a nice afternoon's fishing. The sun set as we came down the canal. Both of us were cold from the wind chill by this time. When I got home I showered and we headed for Cucina Rosa with a stop at Collier's. We had seafood fra diablo which warmed me up a bit. After dinner we got gas and stopped back home for a bit. Then we went to Dotty and Bill Rogers' open house.

Sunday, December 19

I awoke at 7:30 AM. We drove to Carol's 9:30 AM aerobics class. When we got home we talked to Katie and Alex simultaneously on our two phone lines. We tried to call Bill, but his cell phone was off (he was in Tallahassee, FL). It was cloudy and the NE wind was blowing. We went to the Wildwood Pizza Hut for lunch. Then we went to Sears, Penneys, and K-Mart to buy a few things. We chilled out the rest of the afternoon. We joined Jim and Fran Lewis at Joy and Tom's for holiday cocktails and a light dinner.

Monday, December 20

I awoke at 6:00 AM with Cathy. I did some web searching for information about the architect, John McArthur, Jr., but didn't have much luck. The day was warm (50 degrees) but drizzly and windy. I rode my bike to Becky's aerobics class, preceded by weightlifting. When I got home I ate lunch and then work on the "macmarq.java" applet. It was foggy and rainy, but the Bay was pretty calm, so I went for a kayak paddle to the canal. It rained the whole way, but it was kind of pleasant. The water was very clear. We drove to Becky's 6:00 PM aerobics class. I got a pizza for dinner. I talked to Katie and gave her Bill's phone numbers.

Tuesday, December 21

I awoke at 6:00 AM with Cathy. I worked on the "macmarq.java" applet and discovered that Netscape Communicator 4.5 doesn't allow Java applets to read files from a server (although Communicator 4.7 does allow it). Later, I used exception-handling to remedy the situation. The wind was lighter than I expected so I planned a last boat trip (we have the boat up for sale). I drove to Cape May Point to check the rips. The water looked OK so I called Jim Sosna to invite him. He declined, so I went alone. It was overcast and chilly out on the rips. There were a total of four boats working around a boiling Prissy Wick shoal. I stayed out until 11:00 AM. It had started to blow pretty hard and a spring low tide was coming at 12:30 PM. I docked the boat close to the marina's boat lift as Bill (the owner of the marina) had requested earlier. I removed most of the fishing equipment and threw away the white carpet and some buckets. Good-bye Anaerobic!

I ran to Sharon's Yoga class and stayed for Carol's aerobics class.

Wednesday, December 22

I awoke at 6:00 AM with Cathy. The morning began with wind, gloom, rain, and sleet. I drove to Becky's 9:30 AM aerobics class, preceded by weightlifting. Afterward I shopped at ACME and got gas. I spent a few hours trying to make an audio CD to no avail because a variety of errors kept thwarting my efforts. I took photos throughout the day for a Winter Solstice report. The day cleared and got colder. We drove to Becky's 6:00 PM class. Cathy called Alex after dinner; Erin has been sick. We tried Paula's striper recipe - very good.

Thursday, December 23

I awoke at 6:00 AM with Cathy. I moved the fishing equipment out of the Jeep so Cathy could drive it to school. I put a Winter Solstice page up on CapeMayBeach.com. I forgot to reset my settings for "jpg" files and ended up with big files: high quality, slow loading. I went to the ACME for gum and gassed up the RAV. Then I packed my stuff and loaded the RAV for our trip to visit Bill for Christmas in Indianapolis. Cathy arrived home about 1:00 PM and we left at 1:17 PM. When we reached the PA Turnpike and had our mandatory stop at the Camiel rest stop and Starbucks, we put "Hannibal" on the CD player. We stopped at Greensburg, PA for dinner at a Pizza Hut. We had snow flurries all through the Laurel Mountains. We finally stopped around 10:00 PM after 500 miles of driving at Zanesville, Ohio at a Hampton Inn. "Hannibal" was almost finished. We called Bill - he had been home from Florida since 7:30 PM.

Friday, December 24

I awoke at 6:00 AM and looked outside. There was a snow cover of about an inch on the parking lot. We ate a free continental breakfast at the motel and were out on the road by 7:00 AM. We had one slowdown due to a truck-truck accident, but other than that it was light traffic, a few snow flurries, and lots of salt spray on the windshield. We listened to the last bit of "Hannibal"; the ending is slightly suspect, but it is a very entertaining book which helped us immensely on our drive. We arrived at Bill's at about 11:00 AM. Total trip: 730 miles, 13 hours. The temperature was in the 20s and we felt the cold. We were very impressed with Bill's apartment and its complex. Bill had decorated a most beautiful Christmas tree.  I took a picture of the RAV in the snow before we went out for lunch at Ruby Tuesday. Then we shopped at Marsh's Supermarket. We almost filled a shopping cart. After we returned, Bill and I went to Blockbuster for four videos. We watched "Austin Powers II" - very funny. Then we dressed and headed to St. Peter and Paul Cathedral in downtown Indianapolis. Traffic and parking were easy. The mass was ultra high and lasted 1:24 (compare to the Largo times in 1996 and 1997). It was a very nice ceremony although we couldn't figure out why the beautiful cathedral had temporary seating instead of permanent pews; maybe it's a midwest thing. We went to Rick's Boatyard Restaurant on the reservoir for dinner. I had wood-fired four cheese pizza. The atmosphere and the food were both good. We returned to Bill's comfortable apartment, lit a first fire in his fireplace, and watched "A Thousand Clowns." We got to bed on Bill's futon at about 11:00 PM.

Christmas Day

We stayed in bed until almost 8:00 AM. Then I showered and we cooked the traditional pancake and cinnamon rolls Christmas breakfast. We opened presents at about 9:30 AM. We had a fire and Christmas music to accompany the ceremony. " A Christmas Story" played mutely on the T.V. It ran all day. We ate sandwiches for lunch. The temperature stayed in the 20s, making it undesirable to spend much time outdoors. We watched videos and read during the afternoon. We viewed "American Pie" - hilarious; and "Deep Blue Sea" - very badly done, we rooted for the sharks. Bill had been trying to find a restaurant for our dinner for a few weeks to no avail. We assumed that we could buy some steaks and pizza at Marsh's for a home-cooked dinner. Surprise! Marsh's was closed and we had to settle for Chinese take-out for our Christmas dinner ("Fra-rah-rah-rah-rah"). We did not discuss balance of trade matters while picking up our dinners. After dinner, we drove downtown to see the Christmas lights and go to a movie. We saw "Man in the Moon" - right on and very interesting.

Sunday, December 26

I slept in until 7:30 AM. I drove to Marsh's and bought some bagels for breakfast. Everyone in the store was friendly and asked how my Christmas was; I guessed that they were in a good mood after having the whole day off yesterday. I read my new book, The Hungry Ocean off and on all day, finally finishing it before bedtime. We went to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for a tour. We took a lap of the 2.5 mile track on a bus carrying just we three. This was the last bus of the morning due to ice on the track. We also toured the museum, where we looked at many historic cars, watched a short film, and shopped at the sacred gift shop. The whole experience was very interesting. The day was clear, cold, and windy. We headed to Target to buy Bill some household items. Then we went to Pizza Hut for lunch. During the afternoon we watched "10 Things I Hate About You" - not bad. We went downtown to Shula's Steak House in the Westin Hotel. It is a fine restaurant catering to the beef lovers. I had a salad of delicious beefsteak (what else?) tomatoes followed by Dolphin Francaise. The fish was OK, but I'm very spoiled by our Cape May area restaurants. Bill and Cathy enjoyed their Filet Mignon entrees. I enjoyed reading The Hungry Ocean. It was well-written and informative as well as entertaining. I'll have to reconsider my personal boycott of swordfish in fish markets and restaurants; Linda Greenlaw makes a very good case for the other side of the issue.

We really enjoyed our stay in Indianapolis. We were favorably impressed with the physical layout of the city (very open) and the friendliness of the people.

Monday, December 27

I awoke at 5:55 AM without an alarm. We packed the car and left when Bill did at about 7:15 AM. There was a light snow falling. The traffic was surprisingly heavy. We stopped for lunch at Greco's Restaurant in Wheeling, WV. The first guy I passed on the sidewalk was wearing camo-pants (even the city folks are rednecks in West Virginia). I didn't have pizza for lunch. We began to listen to 'Tis on CD right after lunch. We stopped for dinner at Dick Clark's American Bandstand Grille in King of Prussia; I didn't have pizza. We arrived home at about 10:00 PM. 'Tis accompanied us almost to Cape May. After reading half of Angela's Ashes and listening to 'Tis, my conclusion is that a lot of Irish men have serious drinking problems - but I knew that.

Tuesday, December 28

I awoke at 7:30 AM. We lingered over breakfast, enjoying our home on the Bay. Afterward, I sent an email to Alex, Bill, and Katie telling them of our safe return. I had cataloged our photos and sent them one of Bill's tree and one of the RAV in the snow. The Bay was looking pretty calm, so I donned my wetsuit and paddled down to the canal. It was 33 degrees, but I had a comfortable trip. After lunch we shopped at ACME and washed the RAV. I signed up to a free 50 mB website called RandomThoughts.50megs.com. Cathy and I worked on the photos for her classes. I ran to Carol's 9:30 PM aerobics class via the canal. Two scumbag kids harassed me a bit as I ran by screaming from their car. During and after dinner, we viewed "Teaching Mrs. Tingle" - very dumb; and "The Haunting" - surprisingly good although a bit slow.

Wednesday, December 29

I awoke at 7:00 AM. I worked on Random Thoughts for a while. Then we went to Becky's 9:30 AM aerobics class. The wind blew hard all day. During and after dinner we viewed "The General's Daughter" - surprisingly good; and "Instinct" - surprisingly bad.

Thursday, December 30

I awoke at 7:10 AM. I finished moving all of the old stuff to Random Thoughts. I also added a "feedback" page. Carol subbed for Melissa at the 9:30 AM aerobics class, which we attended. We applied our sunless tanning cream in preparation for New Year's Eve after we had arrived home and showered. Then we left for Phil and Alex's house. We stopped for lunch at "Little Spot" in Port Elizabeth. I could have had pizza but settled for a very good crabcake sandwich. We stopped at the Springfield Mall on the way to exchange a sweater for Cathy. Bill had found a yellow sweater after a long search, but it turned out to be a midriff style. I had also searched very hard to find a yellow sweater for Cathy to no avail. Most of the clothes in Express were from China, but Cathy found a top made in the USA. We headed to Phil and Alex's, but nobody was home. So we went to Target to buy a clear bulb for our downstairs bathroom. We we returned, Phil had left a key under the front mat. We went in and were joined soon by Phil and Erin. Erin seemed bigger of course. We went to dinner at John Harvard's where I enjoyed a white pizza. We viewed "American Pie" again after opening presents.

New Year's Eve

I awoke at 7:00 AM after a good night's sleep. After breakfast I applied another coat of tanning cream. Cathy and I went out to Genardi's to get our fruit tray items for tonight's party. The invitation to the party had indicated that there would be a prize for the most exotic tropical appetizer; hence, we had envisioned our "Tropical Eruption." We also bought items for Phil and Alex's dinner as Alex was feeling sicker as the morning went on. We left for home around 11:00 AM. We stopped at a party store to pick up some items for our fruit tray. When we finished at the store, we headed home. We detoured at Swedesboro, NJ to eat lunch at Vesuvio's Ristorante. I had my last pizza of the millennium - a good one. At home I applied a last coat of tanning cream and put up Erin's Christmas web page. Then I took several pictures of the last sunset of the millennium. We prepared our fruit platter, "Tropical Eruption"; click here for a slightly censored view. We dressed in our Hawaiian garb and picked up Karen and Mark on our way to Carol's party. The party, as with all of Carol's party, was a smashing success. We played games, took photos, and watched the ball drop. We left at 2:00 AM. It was a great year and we are looking forward with excitement to the next one.

Here are the statistics for 1999:
Trips in the boat: 42
Dinners out: 75
Video rentals: 65
Kayak trips: 82
Pizzas: 85
Aerobics classes
Becky: 185
Carol: 95
Other: 54

Total: 334

William G. McArthur