Extra Dynamite

Extra Dynamite

The pictured crate of dynamite is at the NYC Transportation Museum. It is part of an exhibit that describes the digging of the subway system. It makes a nice visual, but what intrigued me more it the title of its contents. What is “extra” dynamite? It’s a different formulation that is less explosive than regular dynamite (40% strength), but can be more safely handled. But why is it called extra?

Is it because you would need more of it than regular dynamite or is it just a marketing ploy, making more out of less? That’s not the only mystery. Why is it also affiliated with the Red Cross? That doesn’t make any sense at all. As near as I can tell, Red Cross Extra is DuPont’s brand name for this type of explosive. I found a 1916 company catalog that listed this product and described it as a low freezing insensitive explosive, suitable for situations without water troubles. 


Last night, we celebrated Christmas in February, with Joanie. Why the delay? A gift that Anne had bought was on backorder and just arrived. I fixed shrimp and zucchini pasta in an alfredo sauce, with garlic bread. It turned out pretty good. We exchanged gifts and had rum bunt cake that Joanie had brought for dessert. On the eve of Valentine’s Day, we enjoyed our very little Christmas together.

Ghosts of Christmas Past

Big Blue Tree

The world moves on, with secular concerns of the new year overtaking the spirit of the last. By the time that the wise men arrive, the manger will be long vacant. Dan flies out today. We will miss having him around. Anne has a new mini-long term substitute gig lined up that starts tomorrow. She will be filling in until a permanent teacher can be hired. You can already tell that the days are beginning to get a little longer. I too have begun looking forward. I’ve roughed out the itinerary for this year’s western excursion. Making booking, when necessary six-months in advance. I wonder if the National Parks will have reopened by then? Because of my past booking history, I’m getting solicitations now from the parks service’s lodgers for near term deals. Seems too risky in today’s environment. I like the highlights.


Two Turtle-doves

It is the new year. People want to put the old one behind them. This includes Christmas. I’ve seen trees tossed to the curb. One unfortunate had even been leaf blown over, so that it looked camouflaged, like an extra big pile of leaves. They weren’t fooling anyone, least of all the guys tasked to collect this stuff. I mean, whatever happened to the twelve days of Christmas? If you do the math, they don’t end until the sixth, Epiphany. I mean, what’s the rush? Are we really that anxious to see February? Even the serfs got all twelve off. I’m not arguing a fighting withdrawal in the war on Christmas. It just so happens that I’ve come into a treasure trove of holiday pictures. They are all of seasonal decorations at the botanical gardens and I want to use this full holiday season to share them with you. I certainly don’t want to have to wait until next year.

Joanie graciously invited us to accompany her on the garden’s last night of their Glow-fest. Unlike in past years, it wasn’t freaking cold. New for us this year was the model train exhibit, but you’ll have to wait for that. I’d spent the better part of the afternoon re-culling our 2018 photo archive for a few more acceptable pics to post. In my humble opinion, the cupboard is beginning to look bare and it is not even Lent yet. That’s why I intend to milk this new trove.

After the gardens, we adjourned to the City Diner for a late sup. We’ve eaten there often, but always for breakfast. Walking in I wondered what I would order. As it turned out, a hamburger and fries was at their limit. The service was slow, but once delivered the offered mustard and ketchup never arrived, at least in time. Nor were we asked about ordering additional drinks or even offered water refills, let alone the obligatory ask about how’s your meal, which never occurred. Confronted, the waitress complained that they were short-staffed.

Meanwhile, the next table that was seated after us, was already leaving. In anger, I stiffed her on her tip. I almost never do this and can remember when I did it last. There the waitress just ignored us in favor of more lucrative tables, in a very busy restaurant. The staff from this evening’s outing had no such excuse. The number of empty tables increased exponentially, while we sat there and it wasn’t half full when we entered. Still, I feel bad for stiffing her. She tried, just didn’t succeed. Anne had earlier asked me, what I wanted to do in this new year. I offered kind of a lame answer. Maybe, I should try to be kinder to others. It’s an epiphany that I wish had come sooner and it is in the Christmas spirit.

Merry Christmas!

You Should See It at Night

Gone are the days when Christmas morning began before first light. I got up at nine and still beat most people out of bed. For breakfast, I fixed avocado toasted naan, over topped with lox. Coffee was spiked with Bailey’s and then chased by mimosas, making for a very merry Christmas. Presents were then exchanged, with a decidedly edible theme. Afterwards, Jane set a fire and served snacks, while the Christmas roast was in the oven. Harry out did himself for supper and now that it is done and I am full, I’m ready for a nap. The diet starts tomorrow. 

Gingerbread Men

Gingerbread Men

Tis the season… to go partying! Last night, we attended Anne’s seasonal social gathering for teachers at the Southtown Pub. No kids allowed. It was too loud and was difficult to hold a conversation. We didn’t stay very long. Tonight, we attend Smokin’ Joe’s Christmas cookie party. As prep I made gingerbread men to share. One of them ended up with a hot foot. The excuse for this party is to make more cookies, but for me the social aspects are the main draw. It will be good to see some of my former co-workers again and catch-up on office gossip. Every year, more and more of the attendees are retired, like me. Making such gossip increasingly rare and harder to come by.

Our holiday travel plans continue to gel. Anne and I will be driving ourselves to Ann Arbor. The boys are both flying into Detroit, which will entail multiple trips to the airport. Pickups and weather could cause some scheduling jiggle.

I continue planning and booking (as openings appear) our summer road trip. I’ve got us heading west through Denver and Vegas to Monterey. Currently, I’m working my way north along the coast, with eventual plans for San Francisco, Portland and Seattle. Then I’ll be looking at working our way east again. The big question that is yet to be decided is whether or not we first return home or go directly to the cabin. We’ll want the bikes there this year and getting them up there without first swinging home again would require some travel gymnastics, but would not be impossible to workout. I hope.