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Posts Tagged ‘Family’

Thirty-Six years ago I met the love of my life…   And holding her hand still makes me happy inside.
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On This Day In:
2019 Happy Meeting Day 35 (And Counting)
2018 Happy Meeting Day 34 (And Counting)
Storytelling
2017 Happy Meeting Day 33 (And Counting)
2016 Picture Perfect
2015 Life Showed Compassion
2014 And Then I Met Her
2013 Defining Maleness
The Run Continues
2012 All Set
2011 Not Always

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Nana And Poppa With Big Smiles

Hil’s Mum and Dad with Big Smiles

Early this morning, my mother-in-law, Doreen Carter passed away from COVID-19 back in Liverpool, England.  She was predeceased by her husband, George Carter, by some twenty-years.  They are survived by their three children and five grand-children.  Below are some photos to remind us of her journey through life…

Hil's Mum and Hil's Grand-mum

Hil’s mum (as a little girl) and her mum at the beach.

George and Doreen in their wedding limo…

The newlyweds with their parents…

Doreen and her three at the beach… (Hil on the left)

Grand-dad (Doreen’s father), Doreen and the three on picnic…

A (Brit-side) family portrait…

The American side…

George, Doreen and our Sarah (back when we lived in Liverpool)

And more recently…

“Nana” and Hil in Mike and Viv’s back garden…

A recent Facebook post…

Together again…

In our hearts, thoughts and prayers…

Way back in 2011, I posted a conversation I had with “Nana” Carter:  Things I’ve Learned From Life – Nana Carter
Her thoughts on “Life’s Lessons” may give you some insight into our loss…
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On This Day In:
2019 Laugh With Me
2018 Both Sides, Mr. President?
2017 Republicans Better Wake Up
2016 Truth Telling
2015 To Be Effective In The Modern World
2014 A Little Cover
2013 Binding
2012 Lift
2011 Another Good Movie, Another Excellent Book
miSFits
I’m Just Not Sure

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I usually take a two-hour nap from one to four.
  —  Yogi Berra
[When my mom comes over to “visit”, after saying hello to everyone, she sits in the Lazy-Boy, pulls a blanket over her lap and lets the TV watch her sleep until she’s ready to go home.  She particularly enjoys sports and news.  Still, she loves visiting us (at 93).  Happy Birthday, Mom!!
We love you!  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2019 Her Job, Too
2018 Just Another Song I Like
Earlier Still
2017 Ten To Go
2016 Unstable Emergence
2015 88
2014 Some One-Liners Are Too Easy
2013 Greatness
2012 Memories Of Arlington
2011 Wake Up

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We all need each other.
  —  Dr. Leo F. Buscaglia
[Happy birthday, Bro!  Hang in there.  We still got a long road to travel…  Love, ya.  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2019 Enjoy!
2018 Happy Birthday, Bro!
2017 Love Can Change The World In A Minute
2016 60, Little Bro!
2015 Vision and Courage
2014 58 – Little Bro
2013 New Adventures And Old Hopes
Caving In
2012 Bits And Bobs And Birthdays
Always Hope
2011 Wet Snow And Long Hills

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A single rose can be my garden… a single friend, my world.
  ―  Leo Buscaglia
I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.
  ―  Sir Isaac Newton
[Happy Valentine’s Day, Hil!!  You are the daffodil in my garden and the diamond sparkling on my sandy sea-shore.
All my love,
Always,
Your Kev
XXX
00
X]
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On This Day In:
2019 Happy Valentine’s Day – 2019!!
2018 Happy Valentine’s Day – 2018!!
2017 Happy Valentine’s Day – 2017!!
2016 Happy Valentine’s Day – 2016!!
2015 To My Special Lady
2014 Awakening
2013 Drowsy In Comfort
2012 Happy Valentine’s Day
2011 Own Your Bible

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Tomorrow will be the first Christmas in over a decade in which we didn’t host dinner for the (extended) family.  Our oldest daughter recently moved into a more spacious apartment, and she will be hosting!!  Yeah!!  Since I will be driving there and back, I won’t be drinking, but I also won’t be getting up at 6am to get the turkey in the oven.  (LoL)  Life is full of trade-offs…
Anyway, we are looking forward to a nice, relaxing meal with lots of family and natter (and maybe a little football on the telly).
Merry Christmas to all!!  Be safe!  And, if you are so inclined, say a prayer of thanks for those in harm’s way (and their families) who keep us safe.
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On This Day In:
2018 Not One Cent!
Looking Forward to Tomorrow
2017 Make Glad The Heart Of Childhood
2016 Sincerest Flattery
The President-elect: Making Spirits Bright
2015 What Are You Looking At?
2014 Ite, Missa Est
2013 I Hear Voices
2012 Positive Thoughts
Hope Works
2011 Look! Up In The Sky…
Humility Before The Unknowable

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Yesterday, Hil and I took advantage of a break in the rain to get the Christmas outside / house lights up…  Later today, the tree…  We have a family tradition of always getting and decorating the tree on the first full weekend of December.

X-mas House Lighting

Believe it or not, the morning weather was dense fog which burned off to sunny / partly cloudy.  These photos are about 3-3:30pm and it already looks like the sun is setting and it’s getting dark.  It isn’t.  These are just darkening storm clouds.  It was just starting to sprinkle as I took these shots.  Please excuse the poor focus.  Everybody ain’t able…  🙂
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On This Day In:
2018 No Reason To Turn
2017 Talking Knuth
Seeing It Through
2016 Hoping For The Best Come January
2015 Adaptive Security
2014 Wants
2013 Side Effects
2012 Just Trying To Earn A Living
2011 Productive Worry

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We are each of us angels with only one wing.  And we can only fly embracing each other.
  ―  Luciano de Crescenzo
[Happy 35th Anniversary, Hil
You still raise me up…
Love Always,
Your Kev
XXX
00
X
  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2018 Happy 34th Anniversary, Hil!!
2017 Happy 33rd Anniversary, Hil!!
2016 Happy 32nd Anniversary, Hil!!
2015 Happy Anniversary Hil!!
2014 30th Wedding Anniversary
2013 Number 29 (And Counting)
2012 Hammer ‘N Roses
Happy Anniversary
2011 I Can Hear It Now

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Today’s reviews are for the book: “The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger” (1982©), written by Stephen King and the movie: “The Dark Tower” (2017), which is based on the book.
The Dark Tower” (2017) — movie review
This movie is based on the book by the same name.  Okay, it’s not exactly the same name.  The book is the first of a series (8 books in total) nominally called: “The Dark Tower Series“, all written by horror writer Stephen King.  The movie, like the books, is a blending of science fiction / magic, American western lore / Arthurian legend, and dystopian future, with a bit of existential / quasi-religious philosophy thrown in for seasoning.
The movie stars Idris Elba as the titular “Gunslinger” (hero) named Roland Deschain, Matthew McConaughey as Walter Padick (aka “the Man In Black”) (bad guy) and Tom Taylor as Jake Chambers (the boy who must be saved by the Gunslinger).
Basically, we have a multi-universe tied together by a “Dark Tower” which separates all of the universes from the dark evils which would destroy / enslave them all if the tower should fall (ever be destroyed).  Somehow children have the ability to destroy the tower and the Man in Black sends his minions to kidnap them to be used to to this.  The “Gunslingers” are the defenders of the Tower.  At the start of the movie, they lose a major battle with the forces of darkness and Elba / Deschain is the sole survivor.  Disheartened, he seeks only to kill the Man in Black to avenge the death of his father (not to protect the Tower).
Blah, blah, blah, magic, gunfights and chase scenes ensue until we get to the main / concluding battle.  Three guesses who wins…  Three guesses who gets to be the sidekick and next “Gunslinger”…
So, is the movie any good?  How’s the acting and the special effects?  How closely does the movie match the book?  Well,…  The movie is okay.  It’s entertaining for a minor action / SciFi movie.   It’s definitely NOT great cinema.  The acting is fair to okay.  The special effects are a little better than “just” okay, but nothing ground-breaking and nothing we haven’t seen a dozen times (at least).  Not having read the entire series, I can’t say how closely the movie is to the series.  To the first book – not very closely at all.  Well, both have the two main characters, so there is that.  The boy is completely different in the movie.
Final recommendation: moderate. To be honest, I’m not a big fan or either Elba or McConaughey. I haven’t seen Elba in a lot of roles, so maybe I’m just not “there” yet. I’ve seen McConaughey in lots of different roles and I’m hard pressed to name one role where I got up saying, “That role makes him a star.”  He’s okay.  Even good, sometimes…  But I feel like he’s getting older and I’ve not seen a DiCaprio / “Inception” role / performance.  Again, maybe I’ve just missed it (the performance).
The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger” (1982©) — book review
As mentioned above, “TDT:TG” was written by Stephen King.  The book is actually a compilation of short stories which have been turned into a book.  I guess, more accurately, a series of books.  I haven’t read any of the other books, so I don’t know if they are also compilations or if they are actual true-form novels.
As mentioned above, the book is a western / feudal / dystopian story about a group of “knights” called “gunslingers” who are supposed to defend a Tower.  This first book, jumps around introducing the main character Roland Deschain who grows up as a knight-in-training and then sets about trying to find and kill a mysterious “Man-In-Black”.  The Man-In-Black has multiple names.  I just remembered him as “Walter” (which is used in this book).  Roland does a lot of wandering around (in a desert, mountains, a tunnel and a forest) and meets a boy named Jake, who he brings along on his “adventure”.
The “Tower” series of books is supposed to be the linch-pin for King’s writing career, tying together all of his other novels / stories.  I have only ever read “Salem’s Lot” and “Carrie”, and both of those were back in my Army days (1970’s) and I don’t remember any references to the “Tower” or the “Gunslingers”.
This book came to me from my son who says it is his favorite book series of all and that he has read the complete series multiple times…  Okay…
Final recommendation: give it a pass to moderate.  I don’t know if this is a book I would have read if it hadn’t come so highly recommended.  It reminded me a lot of the movie “Cloud Atlas” with the way it jumped around in time and location.  I didn’t enjoy that movie and I didn’t enjoy this book.  Or, at least most of it.
Again, if it hadn’t come so highly recommended, I would not have finished it.  The writing style is overly flowery / imagery.  I felt like the author was adding words to fill out the book length, not to actually make a point in the story.  I was repeatedly bored; waiting for something – anything – to happen.  Then, when things finally did happen, they still just weren’t interesting.
Having said all of this, in the last 20-30 pages, Roland finally confronts the Man-In-Black and they get into a lengthy philosophical conversation which I did (finally) find very interesting.  Almost interesting enough that I could imagine reading another one of the books.  The discussion is VERY briefly held in the movie, too.  But, it is almost an after-thought there.
Full disclosure: I got the book from my son after hearing there was a movie coming out.  He loaned me the book, but I never got around to reading it.  I saw the movie last year, but didn’t like (understand) it, so I was still not motivated to read the book.  Over the summer, my son asked about the book / movie and egged me on about reading the book (“give it a chance”).  Since I didn’t really remember the movie, I decided to read the book and then revisit the movie.  I did both, in that order.  I’m glad I did or the movie would still have made no sense.  This is definitely one of those cases where you need to read the book first, then see the movie.
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On This Day In:
2018 Land Of My Birth – Executive Order Notwithstanding
Keeping It Real…
2017 Use A Bigger Can
2016 Vote Tomorrow – 8 November 2016
2015 Old Bond
2014 Preferences
2013 Prudence
2012 Reason Against Reasons
2011 The 1% Rule Of Large Groups
2010 Going, Going, On…
Expect Mike
Wasted Again?
You Did?
Reflecting Plenty
Old Math
Mental Images
Here’s Lookin’ At You, Kid
Learn
Nothing Feared Today
I Had Other Plans
Ratings…
Really?
Encourage Greatness

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Back on 29 October 1984, the restaurant pictured below was a fondue restaurant where I proposed to my (future) wife.  The table we sat at was located at the column just to the left of the door in the picture (between the two awnings).  The current restaurant is named: “Opa!” and serves Greek food.
The table in the following picture sits almost exactly where we sat back in 1984.  The floor-plan / table layout is completely different from back then.  Our table was a four-place table back then and there was another four-place table directly behind me (where the lady is sitting at the bar).  My wife would have been slightly to the left (her right) of where she is currently sitting and where I am is almost exactly where I got down on one knee to propose (in the aisle, between tables).
My wife has had Greek food before.  This was my first time…  We both enjoyed the starter and our main courses, and we loved our desserts!
Hil had the Baklava Sundae for her afters…  (We told the waitress about Hil’s birthday and it being the anniversary of our engagement and they put a candle on her ice cream!)
I enjoyed the Banana Bread Pudding for my afters…
All in all, mid-week (Tuesday) at 3:15pm was the perfect time to dine there.  When we entered, we were literally the only customers in the place.  Service was prompt, friendly and helpful with the waitress offering suggestions.  The food taste was new (to me), just different enough to seem “exotic”, and the meal / experience another unique memory for us to add to our list of happy events together.
There is an axiom that you can never go home again.  Sometimes, “going back” doesn’t have to mean “being the same” to still be “great”…
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On This Day In:
2018 Forever
2017 Too Good To Be True
Plain Speaking
2016 She Is Still Singing
2015 Don’t Complain
2014 Nothing Is The Same
Orange October (XII) – Giants Win Game 7 (3 To 2) And World Series (4 To 3)
2013 Hours, Days, And Years
2012 In Kev Are In Hil
2011 No Game, Didn’t Really Happen
A Good Post

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Earlier this week I got a call from my cousin Michael (from Arizona) saying he would be in the Bay Area and he would like to visit with me and my brother (Sean).  It turned out he was going to be visiting / staying with his niece about two miles from my brother’s house, so I said I’d pick him (Mike) up and we’d go visit there (Sean’s) for a few hours.  My brother is on dialysis four days a week, so he is hooked up to a machine for several hours at a time or recovering from being hooked up.  I called Sean to make sure he was up for a visi,t and Friday, the three of us got together.

Sean & Mike (trading colors)

My brother (Sean) & my cousin (Michael Romero)

Me & my cousin (Michael Romero)

It’s hard to believe, but it’s been over 10 years since Sean and I drove down to Phoenix and visited Mike (and his family) at his house.  I had to go down there for a business meeting, so I offered to pay the costs for Sean and his son to drive down with me.  That way we could also make some side trips (to the Grand Canyon and to Yosemite).  (This was before my AFib and Sean’s kidney failure.)
Anyway, it was terrific to see my cousin Michael again!  (And, see my brother Sean, too, of course.)  And, yes we talked Warriors, Niners and Raiders.
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On This Day In:
2018 Forests, Shorelines And Mountain Paths
2017 Reach Down
2016 And Women When You Are 59
2015 Intersections, Explorations And Relationships
2014 [!(±*=)/≠], [!<]
Orange October (XI) – Giants Win Game 5 (5 To 0)!!!
2013 Hard To Deserve
2012 Cloudy Between Games
Admiration, n.
2011 One, Two, Three – Blink

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An image received from my son…  Similar tastes in action movies?  Another nut that hasn’t fallen far from the tree…   —  KMAB
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On This Day In:
2018 What Do You Hear?
2017 I’ve Got A Pocket Protector
Word Up!
2016 Better Value
2015 Any Port In A Storm
2014 Babies (II)
2013 Why The Young Stay In College Longer These Days
2012 Perceptions Of Worth
2011 Flavor
2010 Giants Win 1-0 !!

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Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.
  —  Robert Fulghum
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On This Day In:
2018 First From Within
2017 Or Vote Against You
2016 Cupid Must Say It Too
2015 Some Of This And A Pinch Of That
2014 Consensus Is Only One Side
2013 Not Ought
2012 If You Want To, If You Have Something To Offer
2011 I See Lots Of Fools
2010 Orange Inside!!
And The Band Played On…
Happy New Year!!

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The image above is a plaque in one of the pubs located in Liverpool, England – which my wife visited on her latest trip to spend time with her mum and family…
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On This Day In:
2018 Intensity Doesn’t Make It Correct
HF2: 1940’s Grapes
2017 Proof Sits In The Oval Office
2016 Tragic Determinism
2015 Maybe It Should Be Clearer
2014 Make It Your Strength
2013 Four Score
2012 The Ruler
2011 Forever
2010 Just Cuz
How Do You Mend A Broken Heart?
It’s Alive!! (3rd Pair Shoe Review)

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Happy Birthday, Bec!
We hope we have given you enough love to make you courageous, enough education to make you wise, and enough strength to make you kind.
We love you always,
Mum and Dad

XXX
00
X

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On This Day In:
2018 Seeking To Make A Difference
2017 Happy BD, Bec!
2016 BD Quotes
2015 Princess
2014 Optional
2013 Happy Birthday, Rebecca
2012 Be Not Old
2012 National League Western Division Champions!!!
2011 What Kind Of Work Do You Do?
2010 Another Loser… And Come November

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