It’s been about two weeks since I last wrote, but to be honest I’ve been trying hard to keep my mouth zipped.

Abby Engaged

First and foremost my daughter Abby got engaged to Ryan back on the 2nd of October. I wanted to give her a chance to call family and tell them. She and Ryan had planned a hot air balloon ride that afternoon. As they got off the ground, a Will You Marry Me sign unfolded on the ground beneath them. Shortly afterwards the boys and I went to have dinner with the two of them and Ryan’s family at a local Thai restaurant where Abby shared the news.

Maria’s Visit

It was good timing because my late wife Michelle’s younger sister, Maria, was visiting for several days. I flew her out to get a small break from her busy South Carolina life, see her nieces and nephews, and enjoy some of New Hampshire’s autumn colors. We had several meals out while she visited, but I’m sure our dinner where Ryan and Abby announced their engagement will be her most memorable one.

Recent gadgets

When Maria was here, she’d made a mention that I didn’t have a toaster oven. Truth be told, I came very close to buying nice one a couple of years ago. I held off because my counters were already pretty full. But when Maria reminded me, I thought, “Wait a minute! Abby’s rarely here anymore. We can clear out the corner she usually cooks in.” And with that I ordered Breville’s “Smart Oven Air” and set it up in that corner.

While doing that I also ordered another gadget that had been under consideration for about half a year: an NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV Pro. It’s an Android set top TV box, kind of like AppleTV, but probably the best Android equivalent, with a “side hustle” of excellent gaming. We had a cheap Android media box I’d purchased about 4 1/2 years ago imported from China, but they barely supported it after the sale. It may be early, but this seems to have a nice quality to it.

College prep

It’s been about six or seven weeks since Timothy started his Senior Year at ASD. He took the SAT exam a few weeks ago and now we’re in the midst of college applications. He’s got a ‘short list’ of about 10 colleges, most known for their STEM programs. Luckily most work by using the popular Common App for applying, but one we did a few days ago doesn’t use that program. Also it’s time to work on financial aid, so today I did the FAFSA and next weekend I’ll likely work on the CSS. It seems that even if you’re applying for Merit Based Scholarships, they still need those financial aid forms filled out.


Last weekend I, along with our parish’s Religious Ed coordinator, taught the first class of this school year for grades 6 through 12. I was initially reluctant because I did NOT want to teach kids via Zoom. Unlike most schools, our parish is actually asking the parents to attend with their children because an important part of the class is discussion questions that the parents have with their children. That aspect opened my mind to reconsider and give it a chance. We lead with an introduction to a topic, watch a short video, post a few questions for in-home discussions, and then share parts of that discussion with the group. There were one or two technical difficulties – as I typically use Microsoft Teams with work and am less familiar with the Zoom sharing common in schools – but overall it went well. Practice may not make perfect but it brings continuous improvement.

Other Tidbits

I tried shopping at A Market this weekend. It’s very nice, but I won’t be going back. It doesn’t have what I need to grocery shop for me and my Boyz. A very healthy, but limited food selection at pretty high prices. Perhaps fine if you’re single or perhaps a couple, but difficult for family groceries.

I was also thrilled this morning when Claire offered to make dinner. Around five o’clock she and her boyfriend showed up and make a butternut squash and fettuccine Alfredo with sausage. Very delicious. We finished it off with some pumpkin pie I’d picked up a couple of days ago.

Once Claire left I indulged in my guilty pleasure, another cheesy predictable Hallmark movie: Home for Harvest. And Surprise! She got the guy in the end! The guy who at the beginning of the movie she found too cocky and gruff. I mean, who would’ve guessed right?