December 2003


This is the weird “in-between” week of the year. Half the country is working, the other half isn’t. Some businesses are open, some are closed. The weird week between Christmas and New Year’s. Always interesting.

Earl and I had a wonderful Christmas with our families. It was a touching Christmas, in that we had the opportunity to sit back and reflect on how fortunate we really are. To be surrounded by loved ones is very special.

On Friday evening we went to Lindsey’s calling hours. Over 1,000 people passed through the funeral home in three hours to pay their respects. It is very clear that there is a lot of love in the world. While the circumstances were unfortunate, to say the least, it was something to see people I hadn’t seen in 25 years.

The funeral service was on Saturday. I smelled my Grandmother’s perfume again, and I knew that everything would be o.k. for Lindsey’s family. It would be hard, naturally, and though it doesn’t seem like it right now, everyone will be o.k. After the funeral and the service at the cemetery, everyone gathered at the restaurant that Lindsey worked at, Kelly Cole’s, an Irish Pub in Liverpool, N.Y. The owners shut down the restaurant and served lunch for everyone, on the house. A pretty amazing gesture, considering Lindsey had only worked there since September. If you’re in the area, please stop by and give Kelly Cole’s your business. They’re pretty special (and the food is great!)

So now we’re at this “in-between” time. Earl and I work 2 1/2 days this week. We’ve decided to be selfish and celebrate New Year’s Eve on our own. The new entertainment system we bought for the house is awesome, and we want to take the opportunity to have a movie marathon. I haven’t mentioned it before, but Earl and I decided to buy this huge entertainment system when we moved into the new house. A Sony Wega 42-inch plasma television. A Yamaha surrond system with Klipsch speakers. Oh my goodness. This thing is awesome! We watched “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” on DVD tonight (great movie) and a couple episodes from the first season of “The West Wing”. It’s now clearly evident to me that this season’s “The West Wing” is clearly lacking in the writing department, especially after watching the far superior first season episodes.


Life has dealt us a different sort of holidays this year.

On Monday morning, my sister called me shortly after 7. Since my sister and I share the same sleeping habits (we like to sleep in), this struck me as very unusual. She started the phone call by telling me that nothing was wrong with Mom or Dad, but she does have some bad news. Our second cousin, Lindsey, had died earlier that morning at 5:15 a.m.

To say that this has been an emotional rollercoaster for the family would be an understatement. I can not even begin to imagine the feelings that my cousin Theresa, her husband Charlie, and their children, Taylor and Patrick are feeling. If one were to sum it up in one word, it would be ‘shock’. A second word quickly inevitably follows… ‘Why’? Unfortunately, it’s not easy to come up with an answer.

The last time Earl and I had seen Lindsey was at her graduation party in June ’02. She was dressed up in one of those whacko sumo wrestler outfits and was ‘bouncing’ off her best friend. As a kid, she was bubbly and cute. As an adult, Lindsey was breathtakingly beautiful, both inside and out.

Earl and I quickly rearranged our travel plans so that we would be home this weekend for the services. Instead of heading down on Friday, we took a brief trip to Pennsylvania to share in the Christmas Eve festivities with Earl’s family. While we were there, we took a moment to visit his Mom’s grave site. As we remembered Earl’s Mom, we stood in the pouring rain and said a prayer, asking for her assistance in helping Lindsey to the Other Side. During the Christmas Eve festivities at Earl’s Dad’s, I suddenly smelled the unmistakable scent of my Grandmother’s perfume. Since I was standing between Earl and his father, it was a pretty safe bet that neither of them was wearing the scent. So I took it as a signal from Grandma that Lindsey was with her and Grandpa and all of my beloved family members that have already passed.

God has a breathtakingly beautiful angel among his legion.


Lindsey Brown

Lindsey Christine Brown

December 22, 2003 Lindsey Christine Brown, 20, of Liverpool, NY passed away Monday, December 22, 2003 at St. Joseph’s Hospital. Born in Syracuse, she was a communicant of Christ the King Church and a waitress at Kelly Cole’s Restaurant. She was a 2001 graduate of Liverpool High School and currently a student at Onondaga Community College. Lindsey loved animals especially her own dogs, Riley and Bailey. She is survived by her parents, Charles J. and Theresa A. Brown of Liverpool; a brother, Patrick Brown of Liverpool; a sister, Taylor Brown of Liverpool; paternal grandmother, Helen R. Brown of Liverpool; maternal grandmother, Rose L. Bonner of Syracuse; maternal grandparents, Matt and Katie Pedzick of East Syracuse; a beloved friend, Danielle Inman of Liverpool; Several Aunts, Uncles and Cousins. Calling hours will be Friday, December 26, 2003 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Maurer Funeral Home Moyers Corners, 3541 Route 31, Baldwinsville, NY. Services will be Saturday at 8:15 a.m. from the funeral home and 9 a.m. in Christ the King Church, 21 Cherry Tree Circle, Liverpool, NY. Burial will follow at Our Lady of Peace Cemetery, Clay, NY. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to The S P C A, 5878 East Malloy Road, Mattydale, NY 13211 or The Humane Society of CNY 4915-1/2 West Taft Rd., Liverpool, NY 13088.

Published in the Syracuse Post Standard on 12/24/2003.

Christmas Shopping.

Earl and I went on our annual Christmas Shopping Trek last night. Actually, it was part 2 of the trek, as with all the activity involved with moving into the new house and everything, we found it easier to stay relatively local and to divided the annual trek into more manageable chunks.

So we shlepped our way to Carousel Center in Syracuse (the mall that is to become DestiNY USA, the largest mall in the world someday). A couple of months ago, Carousel instituted a Friday and Saturday night policy prohibiting people 18 years and younger in the mall unless they are escorted by a guardian. In a word? Halle-freakin’-lujah. Like The Walden Galleria in Buffalo, which instituted a similar policy over a year ago, mall traffic has dropped considerably. But retail sales have not, since people are actually at the mall to shop, instead of just hanging out and being obnoxious.

So we went on a merry trek through the mall and finished everything up, save for our gifts for each other. I hope to accomplish that tomorrow.

After the mall, we headed to Barnes and Noble to pick up some gift certificates. We took this as an opportunity to sit and relax in the café, something we have never done despite the thousands of hours and dollars we have spent in Barnes and Noble. (Well, maybe hundreds of hours and tens of thousands of dollars). I had a blueberry scone that was absolutely wonderful. Not being a coffee drinker, though, I settled for a trendy bottle of water. Very nice.

On the way, I discovered that we were frightfully low on gas, so we headed to the trendy Delta Sonic. The place was all a glow and bustling with activity. I proceeded to swipe my ATM card and pump gas when the pump just stopped. The pump next to me stopped on the guy pumping his gas as well. After pushing some buttons and squeezing some handles (the pump, not the guy’s next to me), I decided to head into the convenience store to find out what was up. Between gum snaps, Ms. Bitch Behind The Counter informed me that the store closed at 10:00 p.m. and she shut the pumps off. No warning. No “attention Delta Sonic Pumpers…” announcements, nothing. So I had pumped all of $.02 (that TWO cents) worth of gas into my car. That’s right folks, $.02 (that TWO cents) was charged to my ATM debit card. I saved the receipt and plan to make a rant page against Delta Sonic with a scan of the receipt for everyone to see the foolishness involved. It’s fun to spread holiday cheer.

The new symphony of life.

I’ve made a very important electronic discovery today. I’ve discovered iTunes. I’ve mentioned from time to time that I would really like an iMac, like the big brother version to the one I bought for Earl for Christmas last year. But my HP Pavilion is not that old, is quite functional (when I allow it to be) and works like a charm. I’ve messed with alternate operating systems (Linux, FreeBSD), but I’ve settled back into the routine of Microsoft Windows XP Home. And today, I took the opportunity to install iTunes for Windows XP.

Oh my God.

I’ve already purchased one complete album and 17 miscellaneous songs. I’ve burned two CDs that I intend on listening to in the car this weekend.

I’m hooked on iTunes. After struggling with “alternate operating systems”, it’s nice to have something that works so easily and is yet so very functional.

If you haven’t latched on to iTunes, you need to get it fast.

Earl and I invited our friends Dennis and Victor over for supper tonight. We haven’t seen them in over a year for various reasons. Our lives were very hectic with Earl working many extra hours. Our house was always a wreck. So it was nice to get together and catch up on all that’s been happening. It was a nice, relaxed, casual evening. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.

And last but not least, I may have mentioned that I started a beard the day we made a purchase offer on the house. Not wanting to jinx the purchase, I decided to not shave until we closed on the house. Well, we’ve closed on the house, and I still have the full beard. I kind of like it, as does Earl, and I think I’m going to let it grow until at least his birthday (end of February) or until the 1st of March. Who knows, maybe I’ll let it grow until The Ride for Missing Children. That would be pretty cool. 🙂

If you want to take a look, the webcams are up and running again. Now that we have high-speed internet AND I’m running Windows, it’s easy to share my face with the world!


I must admit that I haven’t felt very inspired to write in my blog lately. It’s not that there’s not a lot going on, because with the holiday season upon us and in a new house on top of it, life is very busy. In fact, it’s downright hectic.

Earl and I have been getting along swimmingly (why don’t people say swimmingly anymore?) so it’s not like we’re in a rut or anything like that.

No, there’s nothing *wrong*, I just haven’t felt inspired enough to write in my blog. Maybe I need more meditation time or something. I’ve been reading a bit more than usual. Reading up on meditation and being focused and psychic powers and such. I’m gearing up for the Great New Years Resolution Plan, I suppose.

Earl and I did take the time to watch “The Golden Girls” reunion tonight on Lifetime (I hate the ‘television for women’ part). It was hilarious. If only sitcoms in 2003 were written half as well as The Golden Girls. Admittedly, it’s a bit of a reality check to see how much the girls have aged, but they’re doing it gracefully and without a lot of plastic augmentation, which is nice to see.

I did have a little boost in my holiday mood on Friday. I was at work, being all down in the dumps about the holiday season because at a radio station, this is one of the most busiest times of the year… lots of holiday geared contests, pre-planning for extra days off, etc. Anyways, Earl decided I need a kick in my Jolly Old St. Nick and decided to surprise me with a beautiful Christmas plant and ornament. He showed up at lunch with a big goofy smile on his face and made my day 1000% brighter. Now I can say without hesitation, “the holidays are now officially merry”.

Home, Sweet, Home.

If’s officially been one week today. Earl and I have been in the new house for exactly one week. Home, Sweet, Home. It’s a nice fit. I look forward to spending 30 years here!

We started last Monday early with the moving crew arriving around 8 a.m. These guys were efficient, and had everything out of the old house by 10:30, and everything in the new house (mostly stacked in the garage) by 12:30. Nice! A big check, a big tip, and off they go. That gave Earl and I about an hour to get cleaned up, meet the owners of our old house for their walk through, and to the lawyers to close on the old house by 2:00. Sign, sign, sign, whip through McDonalds drive thru for french fries, and on to the lawyers to close on the new house. Sign, sign, sign and whoops, there it is! Thank GOD everything went smoothly!

Last week we spent each night after work getting the house organized. I’d love to say that everything is now in it’s place and it’s like we’ve been here forever. But, I would be lying if I said that.

We still have 35 boxes and all our old furniture in the garage. Sorting through boxes makes me realize that I kept a lot of junk over the years. So I’m working on throwing out more stuff. And more stuff. And another load just for good measure.

We are all set up on high speed internet and it is working wonderfully! I’ve accomplished more online in the past week than I did the whole month before. I’m still tweaking away at my computer to live up to my new netidentity of “unixcub”, but it’s going really well. I’m feeling pretty good about things.

On Saturday the new washer and dryer was delivered. We’re very pleased with them… they washer is the base-model front loader from Frigidaire, along with the matching stackable dryer. Pretty much the same set that we had in the old house, except for the controls being mounted on the front, and the Frigidaire name badge (instead of the Kenmore on the old set).

One thing we did do is go a little crazy on the home entertainment system for the Great Room. We decided to treat ourselves and buy a Sony Wega 42-inch plasma television, with a Yamaha surround sound system with Kliptsch speakers. This is going to be sweet. It’s delivered tomorrow… I CAN’T WAIT.

My folks came in installments over the weekend to see the place, and it was nice visiting with them. Everyone seems to be in good spirits.

And now we can buckle down for the holidays. We bought an artificial Christmas Tree tonight at Wal*Mart of all places, but I wanted something that we could put our own lights on, yet something very tall. We decided on a 9 foot tree, rather than the 12 foot tree we were originally looking at. I can’t wait to see how that looks!

As soon as I figure out how to get pictures from my camera to this computer, I’ll be sharing photos of the new house. I’ll also use that talent to sell a bunch of crap on ebay.

Home, Sweet, Home. How sweet it is.


Well, the blessed event is finally upon us. Tomorrow, Earl and I (God willing) become the owners of our new home. We close on the old house at 2:00 p.m. and on the new house at 3:00 p.m. Since our mortgage commitment expires at 11:59 p.m. on December 1, 2003, there’s nothing like enjoying the feeling of “taking it right to the wire”!

The current owners of our new house have been gracious enough to allow us to move things in, even though we don’t actually own the house yet. We had furniture delivered last weekend (looks fabulous), and Earl and I have been moving small things in yesterday and today. We put the bed clothes on the new bed and it gave us the feeling of “it’s finally happening”! The movers arrive at 7:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. A day off from work, and I have to get up 1 1/2 hours earlier than usual! Oh well, what are you going to do.

So this is my last blog entry for the next week or so. High speed internet is going to be installed on Wednesday afternoon, and I must admit that I am very, very excited about it! Actually, we’re both very excited about the new house and the high speed connection is just gravy for the potatoes.

I discovered earlier today that my e-mail was all messed up and some messages weren’t being sent. If I haven’t responded to something you sent me, please resend it and I’ll respond when I’m back online. I wasn’t being rude, I was just being techno-dumb.