Thursday, November 26, 2015

Holiday flashback

egg nog

When I was a kid growing up in Delphi, Ind., my mom always bought a quart or two of Dean’s Egg Nog around the holiday season, usually in the Christmas-New Years period, but sometimes for Thanksgiving.

Even though the company is based in Pennsylvania, Dean’s always felt like a local brand to me and I especially loved their egg nog with its delightful nutmeggy flavor. I remember sitting in the living room, gazing out at the snowy vistas and savoring each wonderful sip.

I’ve gone through a couple of quarts of other brands – Prairie Farms and Kroger – in the past few weeks, but was very pleasantly surprised to find Dean’s Egg Nog in the dairy case at Aldi yesterday.


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

53 years ago today


I traveled to Washington, D.C. with four friends from Indiana State College for the funeral of President John F. Kennedy 53 years ago this week.

jfk01 (1)I shot this photo of the caisson bearing the late President’s body down Pennsylvania Avenue using a cheap little point-and-shoot camera that I got free for empty Viceroy cigarette packs.

Not bad for a plastic lens and no light metering or shutter/aperture control.

Here I am with ATΩ Fraternity brother Reed McCormick, who died a few years ago in Arizona, and TKE Fraternity friend Steve Dolbow in front of the Capitol Building after the funeral parade.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Eighteen years gone


I was sitting at my desk in the Indianapolis Star & News Metro North Bureau in Carmel, Ind., 18 years ago this afternoon when I got a call from St. Elizabeth Health Care Center in Delphi telling me my father had just died.

To say I was stunned would be a horrible understatement. I drove as fast as I could over snow-covered secondary roads to the nursing home where my mother was waiting in a state of shock.

Dad had been a patient there for several months after suffering a stroke that compromised his ability to swallow food, necessitating a feeding tube into his stomach. The nursing staff told me there was a problem with the tube and they were preparing to take him by ambulance to St. Elizabeth Hospital in nearby Lafayette to correct the problem when he checked out.

There is no doubt in my mind that he deliberately dropped his body rather than suffer any more such indignities.

My mother, who arrived at the nursing home after he died, swore that he stuck his tongue out at her when she walked into his room. Knowing his playful nature and the kind of relationship they had, I’m sure that’s what she saw.

The man who was born 87 years earlier on a farm in Carroll County, Ind., lived a rich, full and responsible life as a father, husband, independent insurance agent, Realtor; elder, deacon and choir member in the First Presbyterian Church, founding member of the Delphi Chamber of Commerce, and member and president of the Delphi-Deer Creek Consolidated School board at the time the present high school was planned and built.

My dad was a solid citizen and he and my mother gave me an idyllic stable Leave it to Beaver style childhood.

I miss him every day.

(The photo dates from 1968, when dad was 58 years old and Sean was about 18 months old.)

Saturday, November 21, 2015


This just happened in Greenwood....apparently their human was taking too long in the store. Haha!

Posted by Melissa M. Tonkin on Thursday, November 19, 2015

Friday, November 20, 2015

Briarbrooks Gentleman Jack Flora

john buddy 02[4]

We drove to Carthage, Mo. four years ago today and welcomed the puppy we later named Briarbrooks Gentleman Jack Flora into our lives.

Jack comes from a long line of Australian shepherd royalty. Two of his grandfathers were Best of Breed at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York. His parents, grandparents and great-grandparents were all champions or grand champions.

Jack has a regal bearing and what we like to call a “fancy pageant walk.”

He was a good companion during Pete’s last year on earth and showed us a sweet and nurturing side of his personality when Dora joined our pack.


Jack and Dora have been spending more quality time with us in the evenings in recent weeks and after he decides there’s nothing to be snatched by counter surfing, Jack settles down with his favorite stuffed toys alternating between the living room with me and the sewing room with Maria.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Turns out I wasn’t missing anything


One of the cable music channels aired a Door concert at the Hollywood Bowl the other night and it got me revisiting their music.

I remember being impressed with their debut album, absolutely stunned by their second album Strange Days, and let down by Waiting for the Sun which followed.

All told, they released six studio albums before lead singer Jim Morrison died in Paris on July 3, 1971.

Morrison is said to have pointed out keyboard player Ray Manzarek at a gathering, saying, “That man is the Doors,” because of Manzarek’s distinctive sound on the electric piano.

The group released two more studio albums after Morrison’s death that made it clear that Morrison was wrong. The insipid nature of the last two albums prove beyond all doubt that Morrison was the Doors.

I have a vinyl copy of Full Circle, the final Doors album and the second without Morrison. I didn’t think much of it.

After watching the Hollywood Bowl concert film, I discovered the first post-Morrison album had slipped past me.

I searched and found Other Voices and Full Circle are out in a two-CD package, but not as digital downloads. I ordered the CDs and they arrived today.

My first listening of Other Voices may well be my last. It’s freaking horrible. Without the Morrison’s rich dark voice and lyrics, it’s hard to believe it’s the same band. The lyrics are goofy New Agey and the rhyming schemes are sophomoric.

In the years before his death on May 20, 2013, Manzarek teamed with blues guitarist Roy Rogers for a couple of albums. They were disappointing also.

My impulse for completeness dictates I have them all in my music library, but it’s pretty obvious that the Doors died with Jim Morrison.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Fake TV


While researching the energy consumption of our LCD Sharp Aquos TV, I discovered the fake TV burglar deterrent.

For less than $30, you can buy one of these little gizmos that mimics the brightness and hue changes of a real TV, but with just a fraction of the power consumption.

The premise is that burglars will not try to enter a house at night if they think someone is awake.

Check it out on at:

Eye and tooth issues

A tiny fiber, too small to be cotton and almost certainly synthetic, attacked my left eye yesterday morning as I sat at my desk.

I ran downstairs to the bathroom, washed my hands and removed my left contact lens, which is when I found the fiber.

I flushed the lens with saline and put it back in, but it was clear that my eye was irritated.

I woke up about 4 a.m. with a dull ache in the outside corner of my left eye, a sure sign of infection. I had a round of pinkeye a few weeks ago and still had plenty of antibiotic eye drops left, so I started on the every six hours routine.

As luck would have it, I had an 8 a.m. dental appointment for a filling.

Now I’m sitting at Panera with coffee and a cherry Danish (they were out of my usual cheese Danish) trying not to drool with my thoroughly numbed lips.

And just for the record, I dumped 4 inches of rain from the gauge this morning. That makes a total of 8.5 inches of rain since a daily sequence of storms began Sunday.