After 35 years of life, I have a few things to say.

Category Archives: family

Nothing better to do on a snowy day than to sit by the fire and relax after getting cold and wet outside.

The cars are all visible now, so when the occasion occurs when it’s time to escape cabin fever, we can leave the house.

If there is one thing that the dogs love more than a fresh tennis ball flying through the air, it’s a warm fire in the living room.  I’m always having to tell the dogs to move away from the fire so they don’t burn themselves from the sparks.  They make me so nervous.

It took me awhile, but the Jeep was the first one I unblanketed.  I was a little worried about the weight of the 8 inches of snow on the soft top, but it turned out not to be that bad.  The worst part about the whole process was getting down our neighborhood road.  Once I got to the main road, it was smooth sailing.  Although, when I returned home and tried to back into the spot I had left, but got stuck on the snow drifts I created when digging out the cars.  I made it almost back where I started.  Good enough.  I didn’t even need 4 wheel drive.

Just a few days ago, we took down the Christmas tree in the living room and put all the ornaments away.  The tree was placed on the back porch, still in the stand, until we turn it into mulch in the spring.  The snow storm last night dressed it back up where it looks almost as amazing as it did with lights and tinsel.  Although it’s January, it looks like a white Christmas once again.  I’ll take it.  White Christmas’s don’t come around here very often.

I hope you all enjoy the snow.  Stay safe and warm.

Simon A.


The time has come to make a fresh start once again.  When the clock struck midnight early this morning, the calendar started its march toward December and as tradition, lots of people are making new promises to themselves for the upcoming year.  Some of the most popular resolutions for the new year are to eat healthier, get into shape, connect with old friends (in person, not online), and many others that attempt to make them feel better and better about themselves.

This year, I am no exception, but I did get a head start on a few of them.  I’m already a gym rat, so check that one off the list, although all my goals at the gym are not fulfilled yet.  It’s a work in progress.  I also recently started going to spin classes again, which I used to do and fell out of it.  I can’t remember when, but I decided to go cold turkey on my sugar in my coffee.  Some people told me to just stop drinking coffee, and since that will never happen, I did the next best thing and stopped the sugar.  It took me a few weeks to get used to the bitterness, but now I don’t even notice.  Now, if I can only kick the soda addiction.  I have gone diet, but in recent times, they say diet isn’t any better for you, so that should probably be the next thing to go.  We’ll see.

I started this blog when I turned 35.  Last week, I turned 38 and much has changed.  Life is fast.  New babies come into the family, as well as new spouses with their own families.  Some family members go to heaven to start their new journey.  My dad made that trip this past year.  Some family move into the next phase of their life.  My step-daughter is one semester away from finishing her high school/Associates Degree middle college program and she is already accepted into a private 4 year school that she will attend in the fall.  It’s only an hour away, but far enough to spread her wings and stretch.

This next year is going to be great.  Lots of things will change, I know, some for the better, and some not so good, but with my head start, I believe this year is going to be different.  I’m already ahead of the game, ahead of the resolutions.  My new habits are already taking shape.  I won’t be at the gym tomorrow as a stranger to all.  I will be there to help the new members adjust to the good life and hope they stick it out for the long haul.  Since my sugar habit is already broken, it will be easier for me to cut back on other unhealthy habits.  I know I can do it, and that gives me strength.  For once, I don’t need a new years resolution list.  I have already made my choices and they started long before the countdown to midnight.  All there is to do now is maintain and optimize the plan in order to meet my goals.

Good luck to you all in your new year journeys.


Since there are no words to describe the beauty of this weekends camping spot, I will leave you with photos. 

Hope you enjoy. 


Kitty Mary in her early years.

Kitty Mary in her early years.

Mary the cat came into our lives a little over 10 years ago.  She was up for adoption at the local animal shelter and my daughter picked her out from the many that were there.  Cindy and I had promised her daughter that she could get a cat after we moved in together.  At the time, Cindy and I were still dating and Bekah was 6 years old.  Fast forward to now, and we have been married 9 years and Bekah turns 18 two weeks from today.  Yikes, how time flies.  Anyways, Mary has been with us through it all.

We lived in a basement apartment when Mary came home with us for the first time.  She was so scared and wouldn’t even think about going outside.  After Cindy and I got married, we bought a house and Mary eventually decided to step outside and see what it was like.  Well, it didn’t take long for her to become hooked to the outdoors and was quickly adapted to that lifestyle.  No more need for a litter box, which didn’t hurt my feelings at all.

Throughout her life, Mary had to move with us a few times, where she had to adapt to indoor life, and then outdoor life again, but she did not complain and loved it no matter what.  The past few years, we have been back in our house and Mary has been loving her outdoor lifestyle again.  Just a few days ago, while we were having all that rain, I found Mary sleeping on top of the firewood pile in the carport.  I’m not sure how, but sometimes we had even seen her sleeping on the top of the neighbors fence.  It was pretty impressive, although it couldn’t have been that comfortable.

When the doorbell rang and the neighbors told us that Mary was passed away in the yard, it was hard to swallow.  After thinking about her life with us and how long it has been, I feel she had a pretty good life.  She was our first pet as a couple.  In fact, she was probably one of our first purchases as a couple.  I never realized that until just now.

Mary will be missed and there will never be another pet like her.  I know she is in a better place now.  Rest in Peace Mary.


Like most of the rest of the world, I stayed up last night to bring in the new year with my family.  We watched movies, lit candles, ate lots of snacks, and had a great time.  Not a whole lot of things will change for me on this Day 1 of 2015, since the changes in my life have been ongoing for some time.  Unlike last year, when I was focused on fitness and getting in shape, this year, and the months leading up to it, have been focused on other things.  I have seen a lot of my family this year, even though we are living 800 miles away.  We even took a vacation to NYC together with my parents, which was wonderful.  We traded holidays, where my parents flew to us on Thanksgiving, and we flew to them for Christmas.  We got to see my brother and his wife, and their son, who is growing up so fast.  We took my wife to see the family farm and some family she had never met.  We got to see my birth family again, and even visited my birth dad’s grave for the first time, a man I never got to meet.

There are many children on my wife’s family tree, and they are all growing up so fast.  My step-daughter is the oldest of the bunch, and she is getting prepared for life on her own in a few years, and then the rest will follow, one after the other, year after year.  It’s amazing to watch them grow up and mature, but part of me wishes they could stay young forever.

Also recently, my wife and I joined a singing group.  I had a great deal of anxiety about singing in public, but it turned out to be one of the best things for me.  I have yet to do a solo, which I am sure they all appreciate, but something amazing happened on our first night there.  I fell back in love with learning an instrument.   All it took was one minute of holding a ukulele.  Now I have my own ukulele that I am practicing on, and I also have been looking at purchasing my first guitar.  Right now, one of my 3 guitar-playing Brother-in-laws has in-trusted me with holding onto his guitars for him, and in exchange, I get to play them.  So far, progress it slow, but my fingers are slowly getting used to the strings.  I can’t wait to be able to play well enough to do some songs.  Once I buy my own guitar, we can play together.

I still have a goal of getting in better shape, biking and running more, getting to the gym more often and regularly, but I am not going to beat myself up about it.  Learning from the past, that approach doesn’t work for me.  I will do what makes me happy, and wherever that leads me will be the right move I feel.  This year, I will go with the flow of happiness.  Hope you all can do the same.

Oh yeah, and I plan to blog more, for me, and for you.  🙂

Happy New Year to all of you.

Simon A.

Cindy loves to play music, whether it be a keyboard at home or a piano at a coffee shop. She has a natural talent where she can hear a song and then turn to the keys and play it. I am the complete opposite. I learned piano young and learned to read music. I can’t play anymore, and certainly could I never be able to repeat a sound from hearing it alone.

Cindy wanted my mothers piano that she offered to us, but she lives a few states away and transporting it would cost much more than it is worth. So I started looking locally and found a really good deal on one and it was right in our neighborhood. Today we picked it up with the help of a few friends of mine and one of their trailers. Once we got it to our house, it was a chore to get it up on the back deck and into the house. It was going to go in our guest/dog/study room, but it was too big to make the corner. So now it sits straddling the kitchen and living room. Not the ideal place, but it will due for now.

Cindy got her piano finally. It’s a Kimball Upright. I found the serial number on the back and found out it was made in Chicago in 1974. It’s older than either of us. Ha ha. But it looks really good. There is one key that sticks, and one front leg is cracked, but all in all, it is in really great shape for 40 years old.

As soon as I got it set up, Cindy started playing. Hopefully she can teach me again. I will teach her to read music too and then we will be ready for the stage. Well, maybe someday.




Keep calm and play on.

Simon A.

What do you do when it’s raining and cold outside? How about hosting a slumber party for 3 teenagers? I know right… What was I thinking? Well, luckily, my wife is here and she did most of the hosting. All I did was drive to pick them up and then took everyone for ice cream cones on the way back to the house. That started the night off great. A few hours later, it was nachos and movies. What goes bump in the night you ask? Well, it’s energetic teens in the next room, watching movies, posting makeover pics on Facebook, and probably whispering about boys. I’m so glad my wife was here. :).

Holding on for dear life,

Simon A. 🙂