2013: My Year In Pictures

I try to post my favorite pictures each year, here are the entries for 2013:

Here’s Toby in January, he grew a lot since then.

We had a splendid vacation at a lake house on Lake Cayuga. Each morning I would wake up early and try to land the elusive lake trout. I managed to catch one on the trip, but the scenery was beautiful.

Winston lost his first tooth.

I was hospitalized due to a spider bite.

Jac & I had a romantic escape to New Orleans, she’s pictured in the candle lit bar called Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop.

Our recent trip to NYC had a pit stop in Times Square where the kids rode a ferris wheel inside Toys R Us

Winston took these two photos of us in front of Philly’s Art Museum

Dalia began gymnastics, she loves it!

Winston took up football, which was an ordeal, but he has a good “tough guy” face

The family tagged along on a work trip to Scranton, while I was at a work function, the kids went to Coopers restaurant which has a heavy nautical theme.

Dalia before a dance recital (she also takes ballet)

This photo is guaranteed to make you smile

Winston managed to climb all the way to the top of Glen Onoko Falls near Jim Thorpe, PA

Another great year in the books, here’s to more adventure in 2014!

A Vivid Dream

A few minutes ago, I awoke from a dream, yelling “AAAHHHHOOHHHHHH!!!”

It all started out in a big beautiful home where I had lived for years. Jaclyn’s sister came to visit us (me & Jaclyn) and while the two of them were drinking tea and discussing life in general; the topic turned to the home we lived in (the home in the dream) and I said something cryptic and creepy like “Oh, yes, this house is beautiful, an amazing home filled with so much history and fascination, but there’s also so much mystery and many secret areas that I choose to avoid still to this day.”

Well, it turns out the Fellman’s love a good ol’ cryptic and creepy statement because they both said, “What do you mean, please explain more.” Which at that point, I grabbed my candle and took them for a tour. Fortunately, our black dog Toby was with me and he gave me a little bit of courage to face my anxiety as we proceeded through the mansion. Our first stop, let’s call it The Library with tons of books in floor to ceiling shelves, many of them large and covered with dust. As we enter the huge room filled with books, I make my tour guide statement, “We are in one of my favorite rooms of this home, The Library, filled with books from so many decades, I know for sure that I have read many of them, but I will read all of them before I die.” Laurie and Jaclyn nodded approvingly, but did not seem very convinced that this tour was showing much of the “mystery” and “secret” areas I had promised at the outset.

I proceeded to walk them through the home, showing them the furniture and artwork, it was like we moved into an old mansion that was fully furnished, but half the stuff was ours and we weren’t sure where the other stuff came from, but it was classic and timeless, so we just incorporated it into the home and kept it around. Eventually, Laurie finally says, “Okay Rob, where’s the mysterious parts of the house, I heard rumors of secret passageways.”

Realizing that I needed to face my fears and go into the bowels of the home, I proceed to the room with the big fireplace and gently leaned against the bookcase next to it, the wall begins to turn and a secret stair case appears with torches that light the way. I look back to see if they are sufficiently impressed, they both nod and seem very nervous about the staircase, unsure if they want to travel down there. At this point, I remind them that these secret passages around the house are known to have ghosts living inside them, which seals the deal, the Fellmans are officially done with the tour and don’t want to see anymore of the several spooky mystery passages hidden in the house.

At this point, I hear a terrible crash upstairs coming from the general vicinity of the upstairs secret passage near the attic. I run upstairs to meet the issue and an old black dog had somehow busted loose from the secret passage, he was thrilled to see me and jumped up to lick my face. I had no idea an old black dog lived in the passage ways, but that could explain many of the noises coming from the secret passage ways and possibly rule out ghosts. The dog led me to the passage way it came from, but the door slammed shut right before I got there and I instinctively reached for the doorknob and began to pull hard to open it up.  The door knob was being held closed by someone on the other side. I immediately ruled out the culprit as my young children playing a prank because this person was pulling incredible hard to keep the door shut, too hard for a child. But as the man of the house, I had to uncover this mystery and possibly save us from someone or something terrible, so I pulled with all of my strength, and finally the door burst open and on the other side was a very old man on the ground, disappointed he couldn’t have kept the door closed longer.

At this point, a couple things started to happen in dream world and real world:
1. In dream world, I was horrified that an actual person was in our house and not just a ghost. This made me scream.
2. In real world, I begin to scream “AHHHHHHH!!!!” at the realization that an old man lived in my dream house.
3. In dream world, I immediately begin to assemble some type of meaning into the meeting with my fears and cleverly interpret it to mean that I am also the Old Man and he was just trying to keep me from rushing down the passages of time and enjoy the moments in my life.
4. In real world, I shift my screaming to “OOOOHHHH!!!!” at this profound realization.
5. In real world, Jaclyn is sleeping with her head resting on my chest and jumps up scared to death by my screaming and says, “Oh my God honey, what in the world is wrong, are you okay, oh honey, oh honey.” and falls back asleep. I doubt she will remember any of it tomorrow. God I wish I had this on camera.

So, I will try to take it easy, especially during this holiday season. Goodnight friends!


Radio City Music Hall & iPhone Saga

A friend from work had 4 tickets to Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular that were going to go unused and offered them to me for free. I remember my mom taking me as a kid and I still vividly remember the Rockettes doing the high leg kicks and seeing a real life camel walk across the stage during the nativity scene, it was quite a production. I remember being 10 years old and reading in the program that the Rockettes had been performing for over 50 years and after looking long and hard at the beautiful ladies on the stage, I said to my mom, “I can’t believe those ladies have been dancing for 50 years, they don’t look old enough.” My mom just laughed. 

I thought it over for a second and said I wanted the tickets, I was going to take the family into the Big Apple for a memorable night on the town.

We got into NYC and first went to the giant Toys R Us in Times Square and the kids rode the ferris wheel with Jaclyn. Then we split up and the girls looked at dolls and candy and Winston and I looked at action figures and video games. After that, we headed to Rockefeller Center and saw the huge tree all lit up with the ice skating rink below, it looked like Christmas in NYC. Finally, we strolled up to the event location, Radio City Music Hall:

The venue looked perfect, we all felt so privileged and lucky to be such a fancy and spectacular place. Inside the chandelier was enormous and sparkled a thousand points of light, the hosts wore white gloves and all spoke with impeccable hospitality, just cruising through the lobby to our seat made us feel like we were in the lap of luxury, true royalty. Inside the actual theater, we felt like we walked into another world, so grand and immaculate.

The show was incredible, the kids loved every second of it. Through the entire show, the kids leaned forward, totally enamored by the performances (including a 3D flight through NYC on Santa’s sleigh), it was broken into approximately 16 chapters, each one about 5 minutes long, so perfect for people with short attention spans. Needless to say, after 90 minutes of superb entertainment, we were all thrilled by the experience and felt so lucky to have been a part of it all. It was a fabulous night in NYC.

As I returned to my car in a garage near by, I realized, “aww SHUCKS, I lost my iPhone!” I remember having it at the beginning of the show and it must of fallen out of my pocket during the show. Another show was starting at the Radio City Music Hall, so we couldn’t have gone back inside if we wanted to. We called the lost & found at Radio City Music Hall a couple times through the next 24 hours to no avail, nothing was turned in.

Then I remembered, my iPhone has a cool function called “Find My iPhone” which was designed for this exact situation. You go onto any device hooked up to the internet, connect to the Cloud and track your lost iPhone. I hit the button to track my iPhone, the screen started to load saying…LOCATING. The suspense was palpable, I couldn’t wait to see where it was, and finally the next screen emerged and said, “Your device is turned off, unable to track”.Hmmm, this is disappointing, but I was able to remotely turn my phone onto “Lost” mode which essentially makes it unusable and sends an alert once it is turned back on.

A couple hours go by and an alert pops up. YOUR PHONE HAS BEEN FOUND! It has been found in the proximity of ….(approximate address is photo below).

At this point, I am not sure what to do. It doesn’t look like a neighborhood I really want to go knocking on doors and ask if they found an iPhone in Radio City Music Hall and happened to bring to their home in Brooklyn (seeing that all doors and windows contain bars, I doesn’t give off the safe vibe). Additionally, my phone might not be in the home or in the possession of one of the home owners, it could just have been activated in front of the home. Jaclyn encouraged me to call the phone. I decided it was worth a shot and gave it a call. I dial it up and wait for an answer. What am I going to say? Even if he/she picks up would it be a good idea to arrange an exchange, if we meet in Brooklyn, they’ll probably jump me, stab me in the neck, take my wallet and leave me to die. The phone rings three more times, no answer. I go to the Verizon store.

The Verizon store guy deactivates the phone, explains how they’ll never be able to use that phone or even be able to sell it because the Lost mode shuts it down. He was able to sell me a refurbished phone for a third of the price I expected to pay for a new one. All in all, I feel like I made out okay, even without my iPhone, I feel luckier than the person in Brooklyn. I truly hope that person in Brooklyn has a good Christmas, even though they are on the naughty list.

Date Night In Lambertville, NJ

Jac & I had been planning a date night for weeks, we secured dinner reservations, we got babysitting locked down, and even our dog Toby was taken care of for the evening (Thanks Mom & Dad!). Of course, the night we had planned to go out, a big icy snow storm moved into the area and made driving close to impossible.

There was no turning back for Jaclyn & I, we were determined to spend the night out on the town, so we made an impromptu reservation at the Lambertville Station (our dinner reservation was within walking distance). I grabbed a bottle of sparkling wine we purchased on our summer vacation at a small vineyard at Lake Cayuga, threw a change of clothes into the suitcase and began making our way to Lambertville. What was normally a 20 minute ride, took about an hour. The roads were covered with snow and ice and people were driving about 15 mph. After a very intense ride, we checked into the hotel room, uncorked the champagne, and polished off the bottle before dinner!

Our dinner was at Deanna’s and we proceeded to eat amazing dishes of homemade pasta augmented with a bottle of red. Needless to say, when we exited the restaurant, we had giant smiles on our faces and stumbled across the vacant snow covered streets as it kept coming down harder and harder.

We walked through the snow and saw a couple other folks enjoying the winter wonderland, it was neat having the town practically to ourselves, we decided to walk across the bridge and grab a beer at Triumph. Triumph had a dozen people at the bar on a night where you’d expect 100, it was quiet and relaxing and offered a warm respite from the long cold journey across the bridge. 

Lambertville’s Bridge Street Covered In Snow

An upside down picture of the river, the clouds on top are floating ice

Bundled up, my glasses have been through so much, funny to think they’ve spent an evening on the bottom of Lake Cayuga,

A right side up picture of the river next morning

If you look closely, you’ll see hundreds of carp resting in the water by the bridge pillar (ranging from 2 to 8 pounds in my estimation)