30-Day Challenge: Day 20 – A 10+ Year Old Picture


The instruction was to provide an older picture; nothing stated suggests who or what should be the subject. Since my sister Leslie sent me these pictures, along with some of of my father, I thought I’d show these.

This is my grandfather, McKinley Green, who I wrote about a few times early in my blogging, here and here and here.

The particulars are lost to me so far, but apparently McKinley, or Pop as almost called him (the others called him Mac), was my father’s stepfather. He’s not in the picture in the 1930 Census; I’ve seen the records. Yet, my father’s birth certificate, dated 1944, when my father was 18, lists Pop as my father’s father. There was a clear clerical error however. In the section that lists the age of the parents at the time of my father’s birth, my grandmother’s info is correct, but Mac’s info listed his age in 1944, not my father’s birth year of 1926.
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30-Day Challenge: Day 19 – Something That Made You Smile Today


Spam can be a real PITA, as I know Rose and SamuraiFrog have written about recently. Even with comment moderation and/or the Akismet filter, I probably spend a couple hours per week scanning my various blogs; among other things, I have to make sure that items in the spam folder are actually spam, as I have found legitimate comments there, usually from people in Asia, for some reason.

Still, when the day (or the week) is beating me up, when REAL comments are getting under my skin – not on this blog, but elsewhere – I have found some spam unintentionally hilarious. And where else can you receive such unfettered confirmation?
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30-Day Challenge: Day 18 – Favorite Board Game


I have always loved board games. I used to play them all the time. As a kid, my favorite game was SCRABBLE, which I used to play with my great aunt, and from time to time as an adult, usually with my in-laws.

With children, I love to play SORRY. As Jaquandor explained, this is a game that by the time a kid is 4 to 6, can play an adult straight up. Continue reading

30-Day Challenge: Day 17- A Childhood Picture

Here’s a picture of (L-R) me, my sister Leslie (16.5 months younger), sister Marcia (5 years, 2 months younger).

My recollection is that we were 10, 9 and 5. One of my sisters thinks 8, 7, and 3. My mother doesn’t remember.

Regardless, it is our very favorite picture of us, especially compared with the next picture of the three of us (NOT SHOWN, thank you very much, which we call the “year of the bad glasses.” Mine were opversized horn-rimmed, and the girls were wearing cats-eyes.

The picture above, I THINK, was taken at McLean’s department store in downtown Binghamton, NY, where my mother worked in the bookkeeping department. For all the time I can remember, my mom worked outside of the home, at McLean’s, then at Columbia Gas & Electric. When she moved to Charlotte, NC, she worked at First Union Bank as a teller.
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30-Day Challenge: Day 16 – Future Tattoos

For the longest time, I had zero interest in tattoos. I associated them with drunken sailors and the people with whom they spent time.

Then I’ve discovered in recent years that they have gone mainstream. More than that, on some people, they actually look good. Although there was this woman on TV this month who had some design on her neck that made her look ravaged by disease.

I am still concerned that while the design may look OK when it’s new, it may look less desirable when the body changes. Or the message that seemed on target at the time may end up feeling less than appropriate a few years down the road.
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30-Day Challenge: Day 15- Current Grades

Well, I’m not in school, so you’d think that that’d be that. But as someone once said, “You misunderestimate me.”

One of the things I am required to do every year in my job, around this time, actually, is to do a self-evaluation. Most years, I hate the exercise, though a couple times, I relished in the opportunity to vent about something. Most recently, four or five years ago, I ranted about the “new” place and how much of a PITA it was. (And it was: it was a month before we were fully functional with consistent phone and Internet.)

Most of the time, though, I have to make up something that doesn’t sound as though I cut and pasted everything from the previous year’s narrative. (Not that I haven’t done this at all…)

So, let me try out a first draft here:
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30-Day Challenge: Day 14-Favorite Purchase Ever Made

Favorite purchase EVER made, by me? As opposed to things purchased for me, which would an entirely different matter. Oh, dear, my library geekdom mind is showing; well, at least it has a pop culture bent.

All right, I have to pick something that has given me hours and hours of enjoyment. I first thought of the World Almanac, but I did not purchase my first half dozen almanacs, my parents did, for Christmas. Continue reading

30-Day Challenge: Day 13- Favorite Memory

Do they mean my FAVORITE memory, or ONE favorite memory? If it’s the former, there are too many contenders, including getting lost in the Adironacks with my father when I was 10, taking a free Christmas tree on a bus, being on JEOPARDY!, all of which I’ve written about. I probably wrote about my daughter’s birth too, and if not, I’ll rectify that soon enough.

Here’s a story about going to an inn in Poland Spring, ME. Yes, it’s the town where the water is bottled. The inn isn’t directly related to the bottling plant, though plenty of the beverage was on hand.

We first heard of the Poland Spring Inns when we had gone to a wedding reception in August of 2003. It sounded great, a lovely getaway without a lot of hassle.

The timing probably made it special. Carol was pregnant with Lydia, and we had told no one at that point; it was our conspiratorial little secret.

We got there on Sunday night, barely in time for dinner. The rush was that the room was transformed every evening for some sort of entertainment, whether it be BINGO or a talent show. You could go to it, or not.

During the week, we walked, read, played shuffleboard, did tai chi. The food was great, the atmosphere casual, the vista beautiful, the price was right. And I loved the attitude. From the website:

To become a Great Vacation Value, we have done away with many of the costly services that most people do not miss. Please take the time to read our website and decide if Poland Spring is right for you.

Poland Spring went “green” before it was the chic thing to do…. One way we help the environment is by conserving water…. Please bring your own towels, soap and room glasses. We do provide sheets, blankets, bedspreads, and one pillow per person. If you would like facial tissue or an extra pillow, bring it along.

Don’t pay for things you don’t want …There are no phones in the rooms, but we do have public phones in the lobbies or if you must, bring your cell phone. There is a message board for incoming calls that you are free to ignore. The Maine Inn lobby has wireless internet access and a public computer to check your e-mail. No clanging ice machine in every hall, need ice? Buy it at the gift shop. Bring your own shampoo, we don’t give you little bottles that adds to the room cost. No doormen or bellboys.

Based on our five-day stay seven years ago, highly recommended.

30-Day Challenge: Day 12- Where Your Family Is From


My sisters and I were born in Binghamton, NY. My parents were apparent born in Binghamton, NY; my father, I’m not positive about, but certainly by the 1930 Census, when he was 3.5, he was in Binghamton, NY. My maternal grandmother and her mother and HER mother grew up in Binghamton, NY.

The vast majority of the relatives I can find were born in New York State. Some were from Pennsylvania, probably in an area not that far from Binghamton, NY.

I wrote about Binghamton, NY extensively HERE.

I was in Binghamton proper this past weekend, though only in passing, for the aforementioned family reunion. A lot of my my wife’s family are from the Binghamton area, though I was unfamiliar with them when I was growing up. Continue reading

30-Day Challenge: Day 11-Recent Picture of Me

This is a picture that a guy at church took of me in February.

I’m pretty sure I’ve told you that, as often as not, I do not recognize myself in photographs in the last two or three years, especially black and white pictures. This is because the vitiligo has lightened my face several shades, and in my mind’s eye, I don’t look like my sense of me.

There was a sermon recently in which the question posed was, “When you look in the mirror, what do you see?” I said to myself, “I DON’T look in the mirror all that much.” When I do, I see the the melanin trying to come back on my face in splotchy patches, and it’s constantly changing, depending on how much sunlight I get. It was annoying when this was happening on my arms and legs and feet a couple years ago, quite another when it appeared on my visage. It messed royally with my sense of self-identity.

I’m OK with it, but to suggest I was great with it would be a huge stretch. None of this should be construed as some sort of self-loathing; it’s more like a mild toothache, not bad enough to send one to the dentist right away, but enough to be aware of so that you don’t eat food on that side of your mouth.