White Winter

Winter goes on.  Denis was in town Friday to drop Carrie off at her school, and spent the night with us on the way back.  Went out for sushi, geeked out on board games.  Today Michelle went back to school, so it’s just us empty nesters again for a while.

We finally got some good snow last week, and did our first ski trip of the season on Saturday. Woo-hoo!  We went up to Catamount for afternoon/night skiing.  Seth met us at the base of the mountain.  Conditions were mostly good, but a little icy at times.  After it got dark there was some fresh snowfall, which covered up most of the icy patches.  But man, it was really cold.  So cold I bought a bank-robber-style ski mask when we went in for a break.  I was actually quite comfy after that and we ended up doing thirteen runs.

This is my second season on my new skis, and last year I wasn’t always confident on them compared to my old skis, and was still adjusting the way I skied on them.  This time from the first run it felt great, and was able to carve and go flat out with alot of control, even over ice.  In fact, I’d say they’re better skis than my old pair.  Jeannie got a brand new pair of skis too this year.  They’re Blizzards, very similar to mine, but in white.  She’s liking her new skis alot too, and had a great night.  And we’ve both been working out to get the strength up in our legs and knees, which seems to be paying off.  Of course Michelle was whizzing right past us all after a few runs.  Afterwards we went out to dinner with Seth and Cathy and Erin and her friend, which was very nice.  Haven’t seen Erin in a long time, and now she’s graduating college this spring.

In other sporting news, the Bills’ super bowl hopes are dashed yet again.  Still, it was a great game against KC, as is becoming tradition.  The Bills played some excellent ball, and have really come together as a strong team. But some players out with injuries and a couple small mistakes was all it took.  Kansas City didn’t give up any big plays, and was just a hair better overall, so in the end they won.  Ah well, here’s looking forward to next year.

New Lyric – Head Downtown

Almost finished my new song.  This will be the eighth of nine for my forthcoming album.  I’m in the mixing phase now, so look for the audio track coming soon.  Meanwhile, here’s the lyric.  One fun thing about it is that pretty much all the verbs are also names of body parts, except in the bridge where they’re names of different kinds of furniture.  Enjoy!

Head Downtown

Head downtown
Nose around
Eye the sights
Mouth the sounds
Mind the street
Face the heat
Woah, chin up bloodhound

You can arm all your friends
So they can shoulder the burdens
Yeah hand ’em a handle
Palm the trigger
Elbow your way in
Finger the big figure
It’s a backhanded deal
But don’t knuckle under
Just thumb a ride crosstown

Now, seat yourself
In the lap of luxury
Chair that meeting
But couch your greetings
Table the motion
Even bed that woman, yeah
There’s something ahead
And something afoot
So don’t stick your neck out just yet

You can hamstring the competition
Try an’ boot ’em off of your position
Yeah kneecap ’em all yeah
Well that’s just fine
But for now you better toe the line
Else you’re like to foot the bill
So whoa just heel, yeah
Leg it back uptown

Take heart droog
You can stomach some bad news
But you better back off that tack
Go tail some new rabbit jack
Yeah head downtown
Oh head downtown, yeah
Head downtown

– JFS 11/23

Tinsel Town

The new year is off to a start.  Everything is going okay I guess.  I’m getting things done and having some fun, but everything feels very slow and tiring.  This is natural because it’s the wintertime, and there’s still lots of cold and dark.  The days are starting to get longer, but there’s been lots of rainstorms and wintry mix.  We’ve finally stared to get some snow.  First time last week, but it all melted after a few days, and now last night into today.  Hoping we can finally go skiing this weekend.  We’ve been going ice skating as a local alternative, a good way to move the body when you can’t do much outside.

Working out has been actually been going well.  Often it can be really tough in the winter, but I’ve add weight to my workout at the start of the year, and so far so good.  I’ll probably put on a few more pounds again soon.  Meanwhile I’ve dropped some body weight, which is also counter to the usual wintertime trend.

Of course winter break is over and it’s been back to work the last couple weeks, so getting anything else done requires planning around that to have a few hours of focus time on the weekend or at night.  Just as I was getting into the rhythm of being able to do what I want when I feel like it.  Ah well.

I’m trying to migrate my web site to a new host, but there’s just a ton of picky details to attend to.  We wanted to get this done by the new year but had to let is slide.  Next sub-project is migrating my blog.  So soon you may be reading this at a new url, at least temporarily.

And I finished my new song Head Downtown.  More on that in another post.

This last weekend we had a sort of make-up xmas, since Jeannie was down with Covid on Xmas day.  Lots of good food, games, more legos, music and movies.  Mary and Lou came over along with the niblings.  And the Bills are in the playoffs, which is pretty exciting.

Visions of Sugarplums

We had a very nice and relaxing holidays this year.  Well mostly anyway.  Michelle came home mid-week after her finals, and started baking the cookies the next day. So far so good. Thursday I went into the city for an Innovation Lab holiday lunch. That was lots of fun and it was good to see my colleagues face to face. Ben, Ginny and I spent alot of time hanging around talking afterwards. 

Lizzy was supposed to come home Thursday, but got into a fender bender pulling out of her driveway leaving Buffalo.  She flew home the next day.  Jeannie was delighted to see her. That evening we went out to dinner and played legos.  I finished my Porco Rosso fake lego airplane.  The design was kinda structurally unsound, so I had to improvise some reinforcements. Later we watched the Charlie Brown, Grinch and Rudolph specials.

Unfortunately, Jeannie came down with Covid the day before Christmas eve.  The three of us tested negative and went to the family Xmas party on Long Island, this year moving into a new generation of cousins as hosts, at Megan and JJ’s house.  Good to see everyone and catch up.  They have a bar in their house, and JJ is into different kinds of rum.  He’s also into different kinds of alternative and independent music, and wants to help me get set up on Bandcamp.

Xmas eve Jeanne was mostly sitting around or in bed napping. Lizzy was exiled to the sofa bed in the family room so Jeannie could isolate in her office, which was also Lizzy’s old bedroom. The girls did the last of the shopping and Michelle baked while I did the household stuff and we all did the wrapping. Listened to a bunch of Xmas music, best of which was Ella Fitzgerald.

Xmas day just the four of us; we had to un-invite Mary’s and Jeannie’s folks.  We all slept in.  Lots of legos, I got a pirate ship, Michelle got a zen garden, and Jeannie got an a-frame camp house. Lots of other gifts too.  My new favorite game is Ticket to Ride: San Francisco.  By afternoon Jeannie was feeling better, and supervised as the girls made Xmas dinner.  Roast beast, very nice.

Boxing day morning Jeannie was over Covid but still testing positive. The three of us tested negative and decided to go up to my parents in Buffalo b/c Lizzy had to work the next day anyway. Martin and Kathleen and their kids were there too.  Lizzy rented a car and went back to her apartment.  She came back at dinner time with her boyfriend Josh.  After dinner we opened gifts and facetimed in Jeannie.  Afterwards we drank some wine, sat around and talked and played games.

Wednesday was very mellow.  I talked to my mum awhile and took a walk around the lake in the morning and went shopping with Martin and Kathleen in the afternoon. In the evening Lizzy and Josh came by again and we all got pizza.  Thursday Michelle and I went home.  On the car ride we listened to a bunch of new music including Hozier and Noah Kahan, both of whom I liked alot.  I turned Michelle on to the new Peter Gabriel record I/O, and some classic records including Chicago and Bowie.  This led to me figuring out Lady Stardust on piano, a forgotten gem.  I tried to listen to Cortez the Killer but Neil Young is still boycotting Spotify.  

We got home in time for a four-day weekend.  Unfortunately, Michelle came down ill, though not as bad a Jeannie.  I tested positive for Covid too, although I never had any symptoms.  So we didn’t get to see any friends, but it was relaxing to hang around, build legos, work on my song, play games and watch movies, and things like that.  I’ve been reading alot.  Before Xmas I read Geddy Lee’s autobiography My Effin’ Life, and Howl’s Moving Castle, which I like better than the movie.  I’m in the middle of two other books now, recommended by Martin.  One is about Columbus, John Cabot and Amerigo Vespucci, and the whole discovery of the new world thing.  The other is the first of the Discworld series, which is alot of fun, sort of halfway between The Princess Bride and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.