Category Archives: Holidays

September Sand Sculptures

EarlySculpturePhotos by Todd Klein except as noted.

My friend Tim, his son Gabe, and Gabe’s girlfriend Bethina were here this Labor Day weekend for their annual shore visit, and we had fun┬áboth here at our house and at the beach, though Saturday was very windy, so not so pleasant conditions at the shore. We managed this group effort sculpture on Saturday, though the wind was pushing the waves much higher up on the beach than usual. We began at what is usually the high tide line, and by mid-afternoon had to move our stuff back another 40 feet. Continue reading

Gardening and Spring Glory

PotsIt’s a glorious Memorial Day weekend here, beautiful weather. Yesterday I spent about six hours getting the yard ready for summer, planting annual flowers in pots, as well as a few other things like this Cherry Pepper plant, with Cilantro and Dill in the one behind. The perennial flowers and shrubs are doing well too, with many in bloom.

ChivesThe Chives planted last year came back and are blooming nicely.

Rhododendron Out next to the driveway, the Rhododendrons are forming a tower of lavender about eight feet high. Hard to believe these were about two feet high when we planted them about 12 years ago (I think).

RoseThe first few Roses are out.

SpiderwortIn the back, Spiderwort is blooming, with an actual spider at upper left.

SpiderA closer look at the spider, his web outlined in the tons of pollen we’re getting now.

PondThe pond is looking wonderful, with dozens of Blue Iris blooming around and in it.

BumblebeeA Bumblebee at the Iris.

BullfrogAnd a young Bullfrog sunning on a lily pad. The Water Lily flowers are emerging, and will open soon.

CatsTigger and Leo are enjoying the screened porch, Ellen and I will be out there today too. Hope your weekend is good!

Easter Eggs 2015


We’re at Ellen’s sister Ann’s home in way northern New Jersey for our annual Easter visit, and continuing the tradition of many years, yesterday afternoon we colored Easter eggs in a variety of unusual ways. This is a competition of sorts that we enjoy, and a creative activity, too. This year the egg decorators were Ann, Ellen, Zack, Ina, Todd and Tim. We each decorated about six eggs, so three dozen eggs total. I was having so much fun, I neglected to take any pictures during the decorating this year, but I’ll link to some past examples at the end of this post. Continue reading

Holiday Visits

DinnerWe’re at Ellen’s sister Ann’s house for the holidays again. This year my friend Tim joined us on Christmas Eve day, where we had some fine meals and played lots of music: Christmas and otherwise. Zack (on left) has become quite a good guitarist, Dave (back center) plays keyboards, Tim and I play guitars also, though this year I was playing auto-harp some of the time, which is easier on my fingers. Everyone sings. It’s great fun.

AnnEllenPlayAnn and Ellen entertained us on their “Music Maker” lap harps, which Tim told us is a form of the ancient Russian instrument, “gusli,” he has one too. One follows the note pattern printed on interchangeable paper diagrams that slide in below the strings, and I wrote a harmony for “Silent Night,” that they were able to do together quite successfully, one following the printed melody, the other the harmony. A link to their performance is HERE.


Cookies are always present at Christmas, Ellen makes some, Ann and Ina make some, and Ann and Dave’s friends give them some. Here’s the cookie tray for Christmas Eve day, with plenty more for the rest of the holiday.

AnnsTreeChristmas morning I was the first one down and turned on the tree lights, but the others were soon rounded up by Ina for our gift openings.

GreenesMany fine gifts were enjoyed by all, then we had a fine breakfast with baked apple french toast and egg and cheese casserole.

DougKidsIn the afternoon we visited my brother Doug and his family, where a large group always gathers. I never seem able to get many good pictures there because it’s rather a madhouse, but here are all the kids present in a planned group photo, including my niece Haley and nephews Charlie and Dylan.

CharlieNephew Charlie is starting to learn to play the French Horn, and had no problem bringing it out to play a few notes for everyone. He’s not shy. We had another fine dinner there with my Mom, and lots of other members of Doug and Lena’s extended family and friends.

CatsSoon we’ll be heading home to south Jersey, where our cats are being well cared for in our absence, here they are showing what they feel is the best use for a Christmas present: sitting on it. Hope your holidays are merry!