Wednesday, September 25, 2019

09.25.19 End of Summer, Sailing and Football

It seems like last month was quite busy and I have not posted for a while. We all (the boys and me) have been well but time slips by because of work, gardening, housework, sailing and now football. Have tried to sail as much as possible knowing that soon it will be time to take the boat out of the water for winter storage. May have one or two good days left.

And yes, it is football season. My team, the New England Patriots are doing very well and my home team the Pittsburgh Steelers, not so much. We raised the banner for the 6th Super Bowl victory earlier in the month and it was a great event to witness. We have been truly lucky if not blessed to have such success with our Boston teams. But the Red Sox kept us grounded this year with no chance at the playoffs and World Series. One year champs , the next year at the bottom of the barrel.

Fionnegan, Gunnarr and Shorty are healthy and doing quite well. Shorty seems to thrive in the cooler weather, a bit of a surprise for a Yapese dog. Gunnarr remains my little Houdini and can pretty much escape from his "condo" and the gates inside the house. I have come home on a couple of occasions to be greeted by his smiling face and wagging tail at the door. Fionnegan is a little thief, caught him red handed stealing Gunnarr's and Shorty's treats. He has such spirit! And bravery. It is really good to see all of them getting along. Shorty has mellowed towards being bumped and nudged by them and they seem to be less intimidated when jumping over him to sit on my lap! I have even seen kisses exchanged between them. Yesterday Shorty was on the couch next to me, Fionn and Gunnarr were wrestling on the floor and Fionn tail was wagging and bumping Shorty in the nose. In the past Shorty would growl at him, this time he just looked at me and moved his nose away from the wagging tail. Such progress.

Gunnarr and Fionnegan looking through the screen door to the kitchen. That is about as high as they can reach as they try to let me know they want back inside.

Sometimes a little howling just to make sure I know they are there!

As summer ends, there are no more lilies and few dragonflies left.

Playing on the back deck. Happy boys.

Friday the 13th - Harvest Moon at CPYC. Had a nice dinner there with a good friend.

Airplane flying under the harvest moon. The next time there will be a Harvest moon on Friday the 13th will be in 2049. Hard to imagine that.

Super Bowl Champions for the 6th time. Saw the latest banner drop at Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots. Very exciting to be there. Is there room for one more? Always!

This past week four fighter jets flew over the stadium. This was a lucky shot with the cell phone. You can see the fourth jet in the clouds.

Here is TB 12 with the football, ready to pass.

And NE/Josh Gordon scores a TD!

Took a little time for a solo walk along the coast at Plum Island Parker Wildlife Refuge. It was beautiful with the setting sun. Just needed a bit of fresh  air and the sound of the sea. It was such a beautiful evening after work. A true escape.

Looks like someone trying to get a nice photo for their Christmas card! The kids, all dressed up, were having a great time playing in the sand.

The very last Stella d' Ora of the season. The gardens were beautiful this Spring and Summer. Soon the blue Monkhoods will b loom. Stay tuned.

Wishing you all good health and happiness. Until next time..... And I will try to write sooner.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

9/11 Flight 93 National Memorial Shanksville, PA

Eighteen years ago the USA was attacked by terrorists and over 3000 innocent people were killed in New York City, Washington DC and Shanksville, PA. Pray that this never happens again anywhere in the world. We all need to learn to live in peace and tolerance.

This is the Tower of Voices. It commemorates the loss of life on Flight 93 that went down near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The memorial is 93 feet high with 40 wind chimes representing the 40 passengers and crew. The passengers and crew fought the terrorists on the plane before it was brought down in a meadow in Stoystown, PA, just 2 miles north of Shanksville and 60 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. The memorial serves as a symbolic reminder of their voices but remains a work in progress.  I had traveled to this site a few years on a trip with my boys. It is as moving and emotionally charged as the scenes in NYC and Washington DC.

Uniqueness of Design
There are no other chime structures like this in the world. The shape and orientation of the tower are designed to optimize air flow through the tower walls to reach the interior chime chamber. The chime system is designed using music theory to identify a mathematically developed range of frequencies needed to produce a distinct musical note associated with each chime. The applied music theory allows the sound produced by individual chimes to be musically compatible with the sound produced by the other chimes in the tower. The intent is to create a set of forty tones (voices) that can connote through consonance the serenity and nobility of the site while also through dissonance recalling the event that consecrated the site.

Surrounding Landscape
The tower is located on an oval concrete plaza that is built on top of an earth mound to create an area more prominent on the landscape. The plaza includes two curved concrete benches facing the opening of the tower.

The tower is surrounded by concentric rings of white pines and deciduous plantings. The concentric plantings may be interpreted as resonating “sound waves” from the Tower, alluding to the auditory qualities of the chimes housed within. A direct paved path leads to the tower from the parking lot. A longer, meandering crushed stone path winds through the trees and allows visitors an alternative approach to the tower. All other landscaped areas of the project will be planted with a native wildflower seed mix similar to other landscaped areas of the park. 

The Tower of Voices is conceived as a monumental, ninety-three feet tall musical instrument holding forty wind chimes, representing the forty passengers and crew members.
On September 24, 2002, President Bush signed into law the Flight 93 National Memorial Act. The Act created a new national park unit to commemorate the passengers and crew of Flight 93 who, on September 11, 2001, courageously gave their lives thereby thwarting a planned attack on our nation’s capital. The memorial is located near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where Flight 93 crashed with the loss of its 40 passengers and crew. For more information about Flight 93 National Memorial, visit

Flight 93 Memorial
This is a walkway along the meadow, scene of the crash. The wall contains the names of each passenger and crew. A very solemn experience to visit.

We will never forget.

Monday, September 2, 2019

09.02.19 Labor Day weekend

This is the unofficial last day of summer in the USA. But I am not ready for summer to end. The days are getting shorter - a clear  sign that fall and winter are close. One morning I stepped outside to the cool crispness and the thought in my mind was I like living in summer. Not just summer, but living in summer. I love the long days even if hot - and I do not have air conditioning - as I really enjoy outdoor activities. Would not mind another two or three months for my gardens and sailing and hikes through the woods.

So with dark and dreary clouds in the sky and the feeling of rain coming soon, we did a bit of yard work, escaped the great horned owl then went inside where I turned on Bruce (Springsteen) and gave the dogs a bath. Well two dogs anyway, Fionnegan and Gunnarr got the bath while Shorty got a towel bath and a brushing. Shorty was not too pleased, but I also trimmed two mats of hair behind his ears. Sorry Shorty, but it has to be done. And no biting.

The three great horned owls are local and they are heard most nights hooting. And I see them many evenings perched in the trees overlooking the backyard. I have a strong sense that they are eyeing my Fionnegan and Gunnarr and after I get the dogs back in the house, the owls fly away. Fortunately the dogs listen when I tell them to go on the porch. Sometimes they turn around and bark at the owls when they hoot but I try to discourage that and just get them inside the house. See for more owl stories.

The "gold cup" Rhodes 19 races were this weekend at CPYC. I raced but did not win. It is just fun to be on the water and we all know our sailing days are limited. With the hurricane season upon us and especially Hurricane Dorian bounding the Bahamas and soon Florida, we know we will have to secure or drydock our boats far too soon. I made sure Mimi was secure on her mooring. When the hurricane hit Winthrop this summer she had some slight damage to the sail cover and it shook the pin nearly out that secured the boom to the mast. Good thing I do safety checks on her.

Here are the sailing Rhodes 19 racers. We had a great time, the weather and winds were perfect.

With fall approaching, my day lily garden is also finished. The blooms this year were spectacular and I enjoyed each and every flower. Here is the last blooming day lily from yesterday.

The most fragrant of my day lilies.

There were more white lilies than I have ever had in the gardens, and they were beautiful, especially in the evening at sunset.

The Turk's cap lily was especially nice to see this year. Usually beetles infest the plant and there are no flowers. This year there were three stems - two migrated across the driveway and populated the garden by the kitchen porch. It grew near the honeysuckle, which attracted a pair of hummingbirds and the juvenile offspring. What enjoyment to sit on the porch near dusk and watch the hummingbirds feeding at the flowers.

A favorite purple flower. It grew right by the sidewalk by the driveway. Not to be missed.

Black eyed Susan is one of my all time favorite. These are wild and I try hard to recognize the shoots in early spring so I do not pull them out with weeds.

There were many dragonflies and damsels and I love watching them flutter from stem to stem.

One of the most beautiful and fragrant flower was the oriental lily.

Grasshopper in the flower.

The eye contact between Fionn and Gunnarr is intense. Don't let his reclining position make you feel that he is not is "attack" mode.  They hold each others gaze for many minutes, then run towards each other with full force and wrestle. They have such fun together and I am really happy I brought them both home.

After the wrestling they both took some time to chill. This time Gunnarr is reclining.

Shorty peeked aroud the corner from the deck and decided he was not going to join in the fun, so he went back to sit down. They were tired after a long walk through the town forest. They hiked three miles - good for them!

Here are three happy doggies! They are such fun - good companions for me and each other!

(Shorty, Fionnegan and Gunnarr)

Hope you enjoyed your weekend.

Happiness is a way of life, not a destination.