100 more

One hundred years ago, on August 1, 1917 (four months after Ken Holmes), Norma Augusta Hanson was born.

Norma Hanson (undated)

She was born on her grandparents’ farm near the line between Chatham and Brainard, New York and grew up in Nassau, NY, near Albany. She was the first of three children of Peter Robert Hanson and Bertha Letitia Currier Hanson.

Bertha, Norma, and Peter Hanson (undated)

In 1940 she married Kenneth Holmes.

Norma and Kenneth Holmes, June 23, 1940

During World War II she served in the Coast Guard.

Norma Holmes, about 1944

After the war she and Ken had three kids.

Pat Wells, Richard Holmes, Janet Holmes, 1980

They lived in the Boston, Massachusetts area and moved to Syracuse, New York; after Ken retired they moved to North Carolina.

(clockwise) Norma Holmes, Janet Peters, Laura Peters, Bertha Hanson, 1988

Later Norma moved to Houston, Texas.

She died in 2012. I miss her too.



A weekend

A weekend

Kenny gave me a great Father’s Day gift yesterday:He has had to struggle with school — right from kindergarten. Not with learning, but with doing assignments. He’s a very smart kid, but he’s not a straight A student. Far from it. There has been a lot of frustration these past thirteen years. But he’s gotten through it, and he’s on his way to college this fall.

So we celebrated. Yesterday, dessert firstand dinner at a Chinese restaurant. Today, graduation/Father’s Day weekend continued with Guardians of the Galaxy. Also he bought himself a PS4, and I went on a 19 mile bike ride. We have some things in common, but not everything.


Today, April 4, 2017, is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kenneth Owen Holmes.

Kenneth Holmes. Ca. 1944.

Ken was born in Schodack Center, NY and grew up in Nassau, NY, near Albany.

“Kenneth’s ‘Jersey Giants'”. Kenneth Holmes.

He was the youngest of the six children (one of whom died in infancy) of Clarence and Alice Holmes.

“North West Corner of living room at 41 Elm St.” “’37–’40?”
Back row: Ken Holmes, Ruth Holmes, Caroline Kosegarten Holmes, Mary Fitzpatrick Holmes, Lynn Holmes
Front: Lawrence Holmes, Viola Holmes, Alice Belden Holmes, Clarence Holmes, Paul Holmes.

In 1940 he married Norma Hanson.

Norma Hanson Holmes & Kenneth Holmes
Wedding, 23 June 1940

During World War II he joined the Navy and served in the Pacific as a radar officer with Patrol Bombing Squadron 106.

“Sampson’s Unexpendables”
Ken Holmes on left (with bow and “GUNNER” sign)

After the war he and Norma had three kids.

Pat Holmes, Richard Holmes, Janet Holmes

Ken worked as an electronics engineer, first at the Air Force Cambridge (MA) Research Laboratory, then at Melpar, and finally from 1959 to 1982 at General Electric in Syracuse, NY.

Ken and Norma were married for 48 years.

Norma Holmes and Kenneth Holmes, 1985

After Ken’s retirement they moved to North Carolina, where he died in 1988.

I miss him.

Snowshoe weather at last

Back yard:

About 17″ on the ground — higher or lower depending on drifting but this was about average. Depth isn’t really the right metric for snow, though. It’s relevant but so’s the weight of the snow. A foot of very fluffy snow and a foot of wet slushy snow are two different things. This is dense snow — very small flakes, as you maybe can see against the yardstick — but dry, so medium weight. My little electric snowblower (used twice yesterday and once this morning) was able to cope with all but the end of the driveway, and there I just had to shovel the top half off the bottom half and then snowblow everything.

Then I put on the snowshoes for the first time this winter to rake the roof.

There’s still some snow falling, but not much.

21.6″ at the airport as of this morning. (Total snowfall for the storm, which is not the same as depth on the ground: snow compresses.) 26″ in Marcellus. 31.9″ in Binghamton, a record. 40″ in some places in New York.


No, it didn’t

“2016 sucked.”

No, it didn’t.

The election did more than suck, it was catastrophic. Other than that? It was a year.

Every December, you hear the same phrase: “This year sucked”. Every December, people somehow forget all the good things that happened that year, and all the bad things that happened the preceding years.

It’s intellectual laziness.

Don’t be lazy. Look back carefully. Think of the losses, yes, but think also of the gains. Think of the good things that were accomplished. There are many.

Think of the good things you accomplished. Again, there are many, if you take care to remember them.

2017, now… that probably will suck, big time, due to the stupidity of the American voters and, perhaps, the insidious competence of Russia. But drawing misery from the negative won’t make it better.

Drawing inspiration from the positive will.

You can’t prevent people you like dying; you can’t stop every injustice; you can’t hang onto everything good and evade everything bad. But you can make the world better, in small ways, here and there. And a few billion people making things better in small ways adds up.



Sunday would have been a good day to continue working on my LOC Precision NORAD. But it was an even better day to take care of some overdue tasks, like lawn mowing, and doing this:2016-09-28-08-59-50You see that? You know what it is? It’s (part of) my workbench. The surface of my workbench. A surface which has not been seen since the Eisenhower administration. Or possibly 2014, I don’t know. Point is, it’s been a long time.

There’s still a lot of organization I’d like to do in the garage, and then there’s the basement which is an even bigger mess than the garage was, but this is a start.

20 MPH into the FUTURE

20 MPH into the FUTURE

So I finally gave in and got an E-ZPass tag.2016-09-03 14.52.11This was prompted by my drive from Gloucester to Plymouth last month. On my approach to the Tobin Bridgethought the signs said tolls could be paid only by E-ZPass or by scanning a Massachusetts license plate. Apparently I misread and they can scan any plate and invoice you, but instead I got off Route 1 and asked Google Maps to reroute me.

Paying an invoice would have been less annoying, I’d guess, but not by much. Anyway, I decided to get a tag. I drive on the New York State Thruway rarely enough (and use any other E-ZPass facilities even more rarely) that it’s not going to see much use, but there doesn’t seem to be any downside to having it in reserve anyway. You do get a small fare discount, and apparently I can apply for a larger discount because I drive a Prius.

Also there was that one time I inadvertently tried to go through the E-ZPass only lane, and that was an irritating experience.

Also also everyone else has an E-ZPass so I should too, right? Except I went through four toll booths today (twice onto the Thruway, twice off — for no reason other than to try it out) and at least twice there was a big line at the cash lane and no one in the E-ZPass only lane. Huh.

Gannon’s Isle does not accept E-ZPass as payment for end-of-summer ice cream though.



Money, it’s a crime

Budgeting! Such fun. Now that the financial obligations arising from the pending divorce are clear(-ish) I can start throwing together numbers that may have some resemblance to reality.

They’re kind of ugly.

But there’s decidedly room for belt tightening without completely eliminating funds for fun things.

I’m including a line item of $100/month to go into a savings account toward the American Travelling Morrice’s anticipated 2018 England tour. I sat out the 2013 trip; I don’t want to do that again this time. Some real discipline is going to be required, but I think I can do it.

Shelf help

What I did for the fridge in November I did today for the pantry. When I rebuilt the shelves and reloaded them I obviously didn’t check expiration dates. And then there was stuff that didn’t have expiration dates… but which I knew I’d seen around for a good long time.

Lots of room in the pantry now. Maybe I didn’t need more shelves.

(Or maybe I did. Need to restock.)