Saturday Morning Coffee

After days of rain it’s good to see the sun in the sky. Let’s chat over some coffee. Continue reading “Saturday Morning Coffee”

I Survived the Holidays

Hello, Readers! Did you miss me? I missed you, but I know the past few weeks have been crazy with a capital C. I won’t hold it against you if you thought I’d dropped off the face of the earth.  Continue reading “I Survived the Holidays”

Saturday Morning Coffee

Pour a cup & pull up a chair; it’s been a while. Continue reading “Saturday Morning Coffee”

In My Birthday Suit (SFW)

Today is my birthday.

I remember birthdays gone by when well-intentioned friends and relatives would buy one present for “both your birthday and Christmas” but the birthday part was often just said in passing or added to the Christmas tag with a carat.

lego-crystal-explorer-subMy parents often bought me a Lego set for my birthday, which I loved. In fact, one year my brothers and sister and maybe even a sister-in-law by that time all pitched in and bought me a combined present I didn’t mind receiving: the Crystal Explorer Sub in the Lego Aquanaut series. Of all the sets I received, this one stayed intact the longest, before it was inevitably dismantled and its parts mixed in to the buckets upon buckets worth of Lego bricks I’d accumulated over the years. Looking at the picture, I can say that some of the parts were incorporated into a castle I built, so large I needed 4 green base plates, and other parts (the antennae) became lasers on a spaceship or two. Ah, childhood.

Now that I’m older, birthdays are more or less just another day, with a call from my mom at 7:15 in the morning thrown in. I look forward to that call.

So imagine my pleasant surprise when I found out my choir mate has the same birthday (day-wise at least, not year). Given our mutual feelings for being December babies, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to get each other a birthday present. This year she handed me a bag and said

You’ve got to use this on the last day of exams before Christmas!


It brought some joy and frivolity to a class just ready to be done with the semester. [In case you can’t see it, the hat is a “crying with laughter” emoji.]

Of course, every time I think I have it bad with a birthday on 22 Dec, I have to remember it could be worse:

One of my sisters-in-law has her birthday on 24 Dec., and I have a good friend whose birthday is on Christmas Day itself.

We December birthdays have to stick together . . .

What I Did On My Birthday

People always want to know what one did on their birthday. As a teacher, I abhor repeating myself unnecessarily, so I’m keeping this list and when someone asks me what I did I can just say:

Check my Blog!

Smokey woke me up at 6:00

I may be on break, but he certainly is not

Then, I . . .

opened Overcast and started catching up on unplayed podcasts

logged into Facebook and played some Scrabble

talked to my Mom and Dad

They call me every birthday at 7:15 AM

Birthday Time 2015

typed two blog posts: Teaser Tuesday and Twenty Questions

tried helping Krystal get ready for work

I was more in the way than anything else

went into town dressed like this:

Birthday 2015 Assassins Creed Hoodie

finished shopping for Krystal

OK, I shopped for me, too

Using a gift card, I purchased these books:

Birthday Books 2015

Panera Bread gave me a free pastry for my birthday:

Huzzah for the cobblestone!

came home

had lunch

chipotle-barbecue boneless wings from Buffalo Wild Wings

talked to my cousin Eric

he wished me Happy Birthday and told me about crazy people at Wal-Mart getting free wine samples

started typing this list

wrapped the presents I bought for Krystal

messed around some more on Facebook

paid bills online

helped a friend in Canada fix a vibration problem with their iPhone

made some coffee

Dunkin’ Dark – a Christmas present from a wonderful 7th grader who paid attention when a fellow student asked my favorite type of coffee

warmed my cobblestone

coffee + cobblestone =  afternoon snack

browsed BuzzFeed while consuming said snack

finished my podcast binge

logged into Netflix to watch X-Files

I’m in season eight which means David Duchovny isn’t around as much as he used to, and the show suffers for it

I’m determined to see it through, though

I want Mulder’s “I Want to Believe” poster

browsed social media

waited for the mailman to come

received a card from an aunt in New York

checked the Goodreads giveaways

switched from X-Files to the BBC show Myth Hunters

The second episode “Hitler and the Spear of Destiny” annoyed me to no end by constantly referring to Charlemagne as the first Holy Roman Emperor

While it is true Charlemagne was crowned Emperor of the Romans on December 25, 800, Otto I [Otto “the Great”] was the first Holy Roman Emperor

I’d expect better of the BBC

tracked down my copy of A Christmas Story

texted with David, my best friend since the day he was born



made supper of grilled cheese, Doritos, and Moxie

Birthday Dinner 2015

for my birthday? Yes, you see

Krystal, her sister, and our cousin Alex went to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

I have no desire to see Odysseus/Oedipus in Space, so Krystal gave me the best present an introvert can receive: alone time.

Let me repeat:

There is no greater gift for an introvert than planned alone time!

No obligations

No distractions

It’s amazing

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes. I

watched A Christmas Story while enjoying my nostalgic dinner

since I own the DVD, the 24-hour marathon begins when I say it will and is entirely independent of TBS

watched more X-Files

ate all the coconut candies from a box of Russel Stover Elegant Chocolates

brushed my teeth

Krystal is allergic to coconut; no sense giving her a headache or worse

Krystal came home @12:30

switched from X-Files to The Munsters

fell asleep

a satisfying birthday indeed



Have a suggestion for a poem, photograph, or future post?

Drop a note in the prompt box!


Don’t forget to follow me on:

Facebook – where I share news stories, articles from other blogs, and various and sundry miscellany that happens to catch my eye. It’s stuff you won’t see here! Well, mostly.

Instagram – where I show you my Life in Motion and share quotes and such. The widget only shows my last three photographs – don’t you want to see them all?

Twitter – where you can see my thoughts in 140 characters or less. Also, funny retweets.

Twenty Questions on my Thirtieth Birthday

Yesterday was December 21, the shortest day of the year.

Today is December 22, and the days lengthen.

The ancients called this day Sol Invictus, or “The Unconquered Sun”.

Also on this day, I was born.

Birthday Time 2015

Every year since I moved from Pennsylvania, Mom calls me at 7:15 in the morning on my birthday because that’s when I was born.

This year was no exception, and it was wonderful.

I was going to make a pun about being the Unconquered Son, but some might view that as borderline heresy/blasphemy.

However, I’m ready for those people. Thanks to Monty Python, I always expect the Spanish Inquisition.

Monty Python Spanish Inquisition Quote

Anyway, now that my mother is officially “old” according to her, I thought I’d do a little self-examination and answer twenty questions about myself.

1. What are some nicknames you’ve acquired over the years?

JP, James, General, PJ

Please note that my listing of these names should not be construed as a blanket invitation to use these names.

Never, ever, under any circumstances should the names “JP” or “PJ” be used.

I will rise from the dead and haunt you, exacting my revenge until the end of your days. And then I’ll continue my persecution in the afterlife.

Just don’t do it.

Only one person in the world may call me “James”; I’ll simply correct the rest of you.

Anyone and everyone may call me “General” but I’ll probably question why you’re calling me that as the nickname was given by a certain group of friends in college.

2. What are you favorite colors?

My favorite colors are black and green.

For those who say black is not a color, we should talk sometime.

3. Do you have a favorite bird and/or animal?

I like the pre-feathered velociraptors, wolves (but not as much as when I was in high school), and cats – yes, Smokey has converted me from a dog person to a cat person.

4. Is there a creature that intrigues you, but also freaks you out a little?

Spiders, and let’s leave it at that.

5. How old do you really feel?

I’ve often been told I’m an old man trapped in a young man’s body, so I can honestly say my age is growing into my attitude (or something like that).

Mr Tom and I think alike on many things, and he’s 97.

My father-in-law and I also enjoy many of the same things, and he’s in his mid-50s.

Have I answered the question? I really can’t tell.

6. Do you have a song you struggle to admit you love?

No, I’m very honest about the music I love, hate, or love to hate.

7. Are there any film(s) you’ve seen more than 10 times?

The Godfather Trilogy

They’re all good; I don’t care about public opinion regarding Part III.

Jurassic Park, Jurassic Park: The Lost World, and Jurassic Park III

Again, I like them all.

A Christmas Story

The Hogfather

I’m certain there’s more, but I feel these are probably the important ones.

8. Is there a planet and/or star system you feel resonates with you?

Pluto and Betelgeuse

9. Is there a food and/or beverage you just can’t stand?

shrimp, Brussels sprouts, iced coffee (coffee over ice; I like other cold, coffee-based drinks just fine)

10. What personal trait(s) you can only apologize for?

My inability to read social cues.

11. Personal traits you will never apologize for?

I feel this question is best answered with a picture:

Birthday Shirt 2015

I received this shirt as a birthday present from a friend who also shares a December 22nd birthday.

We know the struggle, and the struggle is real.

12. Say you were in a position of power; what one thing would you remove from society?

What position of power are we talking about, exactly?

I’ll assume President of the United States (since that’s (a) the country in which I live and (b) the position that would allow me to affect societal change in some way).

Oh, I can only remove one thing?

That’s tough . . . how about . . .

ignorant voting.

Good thing you didn’t ask me how.

13. Now, what one thing would you add to society?

Fully-funded libraries

14. Country you’d like to visit before you kick the bucket?

Deutschland (aka Germany)

15. What one thing would you like to learn to do even if you think it’s impossible?

Draw; right now, my stick figures have advanced-stage leprosy.

16. What word(s) do you say far too often?

As a teacher, I find myself saying “focus” all too often.

Outside the classroom, I probably say “Well, actually” far too much.

17. Is there a sound you really like?

Coffee brewing

18. What number(s) do you feel connected to?


19. What super-power would you like to have?

I’d like to be able to read minds when I choose to.

None of this “read everyone’s mind all the time so the world never shuts up and I go crazy from all the inaudible noise” mess. I want to be able to turn it on/off, too.

This would solve that “social cues” problem I mentioned earlier.

20. Name one book/text you would recommend to your peers:

I’m going to name two, because it’s my birthday.

Dante’s Divine Comedy

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury


Something else you want me to answer or know more about?

Let me know in the comments!


Have a suggestion for a poem, photograph, or future post?

Drop a note in the prompt box!

Don’t forget to follow me on:

Facebook – where I share news stories, articles from other blogs, and various and sundry miscellany that happens to catch my eye. It’s stuff you won’t see here! Well, mostly.

Instagram – where I show you my Life in Motion and share quotes and such. The widget only shows my last three photographs – don’t you want to see them all?

Twitter – where you can see my thoughts in 140 characters or less. Also, funny retweets.

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