April 30, 2013: Today is apparently Quinn Day at the unit14 information service. Quinn painted the picture at left that was prominently displayed at this year's Osborn Hill School Art Show. Click on it for a bigger look if you want.
Quinn also recorded his first Minecraft informational video yesterday and it was posted on his very own YouTube channel, Thehappyquinn. Click here to watch.
Boys with Big Bellies is this weekend!
April 1, 2013: Happy 7th Birthday to Nathan! I'm posting 9 photos from today and going back a few months. Many are from Easter weekend, which just passed. We colored eggs at home, and the bunny hid them for the boys to find, as is the tradition in these parts. Later in the day we went to Mike and Judy's and had another, larger egg hunt and had a great time with their family. Quinn and I recently finished reading a great book together called Wonder, by R.J. Palacio. The Town of Fairfield chose it as this year's "One Book One Town" selection, so we joined the town and read it. A brewery opened last fall in Stratford, called Two Roads, and I have been going there to fill growlers regularly. They brew excellent beer. Now on tap is an Imperial Stout called Igor's Dream, which at this point you can only get on tap in the brewery. It is an EXCELLENT beer. Get it now, before it's all gone. This paragraph jumps all over the place. Anyway, here are some pictures.
January 11, 2013: I haven't posted a 14th Choice video in almost a year. But I am posting one today. Here are the Felice Brothers performing Fire at the Pageant.
Way back in July I asked on here about the name of the swim club that was down in the quarry on Old Orchard Street. Well, I figured it out. It was called Birchwood.
January 4, 2013: Happy New Year! I wanted to post quickly about some musical events. In November and December I attended 4 concerts, all attesting to the fact that rock and roll is very much alive. Maybe I don't get out enough, but I'm pretty sure this was the best string of shows I've ever seen. In order of appearance, the artists were Fountains of Wayne at Fairfield Theatre Company, Ray LaMontagne at the recently re-opened Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, Neil Young and Crazy Horse (with Everest and Patti Smith) at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, and finally the Felice Brothers (with Spirit Family Reunion) back at FTC. Music is great, so get out there.
July 28, 2012: Last night was the late night at camp, which Quinn was old enough to attend for the first time. He loved that. While he was there hatchet hunting, swimming, etc., I had some time to kill, so I drove over to Cranberry Lake Park for a walk. It seems that the park has been expanded into the quarry area since when I was young. I'm pretty sure it used to be off limits to go into the quarry from Cranberry Lake, but now there is a trail, the purple one, blazed specifically to explore the quarry. The trail even climbs up on the ledges. Very cool. You can also visit the old swimming hole and tennis court from the swimming club that was there long ago. Does anyone remember the name of that club? I can't come up with it. There is Rocky Ledge, which is further down the road on the other side, and I think that still exists. But this was a different one. I remember they used to yell at us if we went down into the quarry from Strauss Park. Anyway, I posted a few pictures.
July 25, 2012: One day later, and we have some happy updates. Nathan, based on the great swimming progress he has made, advanced from the Waterbug to the Penguin swim group today. Nathan, his family, and much of the camp is celebrating! Way to go Nathan!
Libby did very well in the the Frisbee Dog competition tonight. I posted some video here. There were 26 dogs, with 13 making the finals. Libby made the finals! We are very proud of her efforts against some very experienced Border Collies and the like. She would have done even better if her thrower (me) had stepped up with some longer and more accurate throws. Something to work for.
In the first round, Libby went over to visit the family at one point instead of bringing the disc back, losing some valuable time. In the finals, despite the whole family moving behind the throwing line so as not to distract her, she went over to visit our (this time empty) blanket once again. All in all, she did really well. I will post the next competition date when I know when that is. Quinn helped a lot warming up the thrower. His sidearm throw is getting quite good, so he might be employed in the future while I spectate. Libby's best catch, a far 3.5 pointer in the finals, was not caught on video.
July 24, 2012: There are just a couple of things I wanted to post. Nathan has made a lot of progress in his front crawl in the last couple of days. I filmed him this morning at camp during swim instruction: Click here to watch.
July 2, 2012: Kathy and Emma are in Ghana now. Mom told me about a blog that they are keeping while they are there, and I was entertained reading it and seeing the pictures: click here
May 20, 2012: Hi. Here it is, Sunday, and I'm writing at the end of a youth sports oriented weekend. Nathan started a town soccer clinic on Saturday, and Little League teeball today on the Orioles. Quinn also had a town soccer game on Saturday. It was a bye week for his team, so the dads played against the boys, with the boys winning 5-4. Very good times. I posted some pictures from recent weeks in the photos section.
April 17, 2012: I took the boys to Stamford Nature Center on Sunday while Corina stayed home and watched Korean programming, as usual. The males were rewarded with a beautiful day, and we even got to hold an 8 foot python. A few pictures were posted. The Koreans probably drank something called Soju, because that is something they reportedly do.
February 8, 2012: Been a long while since I've posted. But I heard this band on the car radio tonight and had to look them up. Here they are, the Alabama Shakes, singing Hold On, as the first 14th Choice video of the year: Click here for the action.
October 29, 2011: Today we had the earliest snowfall that I can remember. Quinn played soccer in the snow. The only other time I remember snow in October was at Mike and Judy's wedding, and that was up in Massachusetts. I posted some pictures.
September 22, 2011: This 14th Choice video was selected by my brother Jim, and I find it quite worthy. No more of an introduction is necessary, so here's the video.
September 2, 2011: While Irene hit the east coast, we were visiting the west one, in the beautiful state of Oregon. We had a wonderful time visiting with family, both in Scotts Mills at Country Kim's, and at a beach house overlooking the ocean in Newport. We took numerous pictures, but I only posted a small percentage. Thanks to Melody and Kim for hosting us.
August 12, 2011: Camp is over. Jim, Jackie and Scarlet are visiting this weekend, which will be a great time. And on top of all that, this week's 14th Choice video has been selected! This video depicts the New Pornographers performing the song Crash Years on the Jimmy Fallon Show. If you've heard the studio version, you'll find that they stick to that pretty faithfully here, while keeping things fun at the same time. I love the enthusiasm of the band, the cello, the crowd. Here's the video. Turn it up.
August 4, 2011: This week's The 14th Choice music video is by the New York State based Felice Brothers. It is probably my favorite youtube video of any band, from any time. Here they perform Her Eyes Dart Round at the Cornbury Festival in England in 2007. Watch for yourself.
July 25, 2011: I am adding a new feature to the website, a music video of the week, to be called The 14th Choice. That's not to say choices 1-13 are superior. In fact, they are inferior to The 14th Choice. I found this one tonight, when Quinn asked what a wipeout was. Which brought up talk of the song Wipeout, apparently written and first performed by a band called the Surfaris. But I did a search and found a live Ventures version of it. I never knew The Ventures were quite this good, but here they are.
July 19, 2011: Todd invited us down to a met game today to celebrate Jonah's birthday. It was my first look at the beautiful Citi Field. The mets lost, but the game was fun, and Quinn and Nathan got to run the bases with the hoards afterwards.
July 11, 2011: I posted 2 pictures of Quinn and Nathan at camp today.
June 8, 2011: I had lost my camera at bwbb in May, and thanks to Austin, I finally got it back today. So I posted some photos of a disc golf outing at a great state park in Pa.
May 30, 2011: Congratulations to Jonah for finishing high school! His whole family is very proud of him. I feel a little strange about it, but I didn't get any good pictures of Jonah from the weekend. There's one with the back of his head in it. Pretty shabby for somebody who is the guest of honor. And Emma is absent also. Good one of a snapping turtle, though. Todd put some great pictures here.
26, 2011: I posted some photos today, from the last couple of months.
We are looking forward to Jonah's graduation this weekend. We will miss
Mom and Dad, wish they could attend.
May 23, 2011: Random exchange of the day. A lady from a nature center is here at the PCH today showing some animals to the preschool classes. She had a chinchilla out, and said, "This guy only goes out at night and stays in during the day. Does anybody know what that is called?" A little girl answered, "Fertilizer?" To which the lady replied, "No, that's not it. Anybody else?"
April 4, 2011: My good friend Zeke, leader of Swahoogie, has been going through his archives and recently posted some Swahoogie videos from the late 1990s on youtube. Check them out if you are so inclined.
March 28, 2011: Happy Birthday Dad! Dad took time out of his birthday celebration to electronically discuss the posting of March 25th with me. We decided that a cow was traded for the beanstalk seeds, not a goose as previously posted.
25, 2011: Nate's birthday is a week away, and he received his first
gift today, some waterproof spider boots from his Grandmother. He wore
them proudly at Jennings Beach. Libby is allowed to run there until
March 31st, and then not again until October, so Corina is getting her
there as often as possible. Libby wasn't singled out, no dogs are allowed
during that time.
March 13, 2011: Quinn ran in his first road race today, a 1 mile youth race for children 7-11 at Jennings Beach here in town. He finished 12th out of 125 runners in a time of 7:48. He was pretty tired at the end. I posted some photos.
January 27, 2011: Happy Birthday Kathy. Yesterday we got a few more inches of snow, then a break, and then last night 16 more inches. I don't think I've ever seen so much snow here on the ground. I posted 3 pictures in the photos section.
January 12, 2011: Last night we got hit with the biggest snowstorm I've seen in awhile. Looks like at least 2 feet of snow to me, at least on our property. I don't think that much fell, officially, but it sure did find our yard. I posted 3 pictures. Now I have to finish shoveling the driveway.
January 10, 2011: Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad. Got that in with 10 minutes to spare. December was busy. Melody visited early in the month, and then John's siblings all flew out to Seattle to celebrate his 50th birthday with family and friends. My Mom and Dad, aka Nana and Grandpa, drove up for Christmas. Although their trip was long, both ways, we had a great visit with them. Kathy and family braved the snow and drove down on the 27th. I posted photos. Also, check out Jim's photos by clicking on his link in the link section. Good night.
November 29, 2010: We spent Thanksgiving down in Williamsburg, VA at Nana and Grandpa's. They were great hosts and Mom definitely delivered the goods for Thanksgiving meal. Friday night we went to Busch Gardens for an event called Christmas Town. The whole place was decorated for Christmas, and many of the rides were functioning. On Saturday we visited Jim, Jackie and Scarlet on the way home. The dogs got along, mostly, although Libby tried to act tough with Seneca and almost got shut down.
November 5, 2010: Odie the orange cat just came home! The last time we had seen him was Friday morning, October 22nd. I'm at work, so I haven't seen him yet. He is apparently dirty and skinny but OK. We have no idea where he was. Great news!
November 1, 2010: We had a fun Halloween weekend. Quinn played his last soccer game of the season on Saturday. The team has played together for 2 fall seasons and 1 spring and has really developed. Lots of spreading out, accurate passing, and unselfish play. Quinn and Nathan helped with raking over the weekend, although there are still many more leaves on the trees. I hope the enthusiasm for raking lasts the whole season. Both boys dressed as knights for Halloween. While Corina stayed home and gave out candy to other trick or treaters, I took the boys out into the neighborhood and beyond.
October 17, 2010: I posted some photos from Quinn's birthday party today, even though the party took place over a week ago.
October 6, 2010: Happy birthday to Quinn Thomas Havard, who turns 7 today! Party at the PCH on Saturday.
September 13, 2010: Back in May we caught a tadpole at Brett Woods and kept it in the fishbowl in our kitchen with the fish. That tadpole became the frog now pictured in the photos section. We released him a few weeks ago back to the same pond he came from, and the fishbowl soon turned into a swamp. We realized that the tadpole was instrumental in keeping the bowl clean, so a couple of days later we caught 6 more small tadpoles. They are growing fast and keeping the bowl clean. On a completely unrelated note, here is a video from August of our Libertarian dog.
September 12, 2010: Although summer doesn't officially end until September 21st or something, it feels like fall around here. Quinn and Nathan have both started school and are liking it. Last weekend I took both boys out in the old rowboat on Rye Lake. Now I know why Dad used to try to take us out one at a time. The boys were well-behaved, though, and nobody fell in. We caught 2 small sunnies, but left with the feeling that there are still some very large fish in there. Our vegetable garden is having possibly its best year yet, with a bounty of tomatoes and cascade hops, as well as eggplant, basil and cucumbers. Today we all went to this event on the town green, where we watched an old-time baseball game between the Newtown Sandy Hooks and the Gotham City Baseball Club. Newtown won. Both Quinn and Nathan had a chance to ride ponies and we all had a fun time. Here is a CT Post photo from a "town ball" game that took place in town in August. I like it, mostly because it looks like I'm doing something impressive. And yes, I caught it.
August 1, 2010: There is this open space area in town called Perry's Mill Ponds. Quinn and I fished there yesterday and caught (and released) a few sunnies. Today we went back without the poles, but with Corina, Nathan and our dog Libby. I haven't mentioned Libby on this site yet, but she's a good dog. We've had her for about 7 weeks now. She is an Australian Cattle Dog mix. Today we all hiked around the ponds, and the boys and dog got in the water. Here is a video of Nathan crossing a creek that captures Nathan in his full splendor.
June 2, 2010: The last few weeks have been busy in 14 land. Nathan and I took an Amtrak train down to DC a couple of weeks ago to meet Scarlet and visit Jim and Jackie. Nathan asked if we could ride on every train we saw, and we saw hundreds. The trip was great fun, with plenty of cozing time with Scarlet, walks in the cemetery and Eastern Market, a short visit with Mac, time on the Supreme Court steps, 3 innings of the Nationals/Mets game, the Natural History Museum, and more. Thanks, Jim and Jackie, for hosting us. I posted a few photos, but Jim has many more at his
photos site, as well as some more recent pictures of the young girl. I promised the boys they could get tadpoles in the spring. We hiked to the pond in Brett woods a week and a half ago, but the only tadpoles we saw were huge ones, future bullfrogs. We brought one home, and it is now living with and frightening the White Cloud Mountain Minnows. This past weekend we went to Sasco Beach in Fairfield and caught crabs and snails (all released), waded in the cold water, and did some kite flying with the parachute man attached.
I promised the boys they could get tadpoles in the spring. We hiked to the pond in Brett woods a week and a half ago, but the only tadpoles we saw were huge ones, future bullfrogs. We brought one home, and it is now living with and frightening the White Cloud Mountain Minnows. This past weekend we went to Sasco Beach in Fairfield and caught crabs and snails (all released), waded in the cold water, and did some kite flying with the parachute man attached.
April 28, 2010: Still no name for the baby, but I've got a picture. Melody arrived at our house last night with Jack the dog. Odie climbed up on the island of Sodor this morning in fear.
April 27, 2010: I just got off the phone with Jim and Jackie. Their baby girl was born this morning at around 11:15am, 6 lb. 2 oz. Everybody is healthy and good. The name is pending. Not sure why they chose Pending; must be a family name on Jackie's side or something. Nonetheless, congratulations Jim and Jackie!
April 20, 2010: Melody departed Scotts Mills, OR yesterday and is driving across the country with Jack the dog. She is keeping a journal of her trip here. We just finished a shorter trip ourselves, down to visit Mom and Dad in Williamsburg, and then Jim and Jackie with her bodacious belly in D.C. on the way home. Highlights were many, including a ferry ride across the James river in Virginia, and graveyard walks with Seneca in D.C. We had a great time and very much appreciate our gracious hosts.
February 8, 2010: Corina and I saw an enthralling Felice Brothers concert at Fairfield Theatre Company on Friday night, and I posted a review.
Here's some fun video of Nathan walking the beam.
January 30, 2010: Melody requested photos of the 26 pets, so I posted some stinking photos. Brrrr day today, 11 units of degree.
January 28, 2010: The total number of pets in our household has risen considerably. Before Christmas, we had 4, including a cat and 3 lovebirds. Now we have 26, including 16 ants in a gel ant farm, and our newest pets, 6 White Cloud Mountain Minnows (Tanichthys albonubes) in a large vase in the kitchen. The fish are very active and fun to watch, I highly recommend them so far. They can live in a bowl or vase without a pump or filter, and they like company, as opposed to beta fish, that eat each other. Put some plants in there, like java moss, exchange 4 cups of water for fresh every day, and they seem to thrive.
January 7, 2010: Happy New Year from the unit14 information service! Melody sent 3 photos taken in December on her Oregon property with a night vision motion sensor camera that she has. I posted them in the photos section. The first is of a bobcat and the 2nd and 3rd are of a mountain lion.
December 30, 2009: Thanks to Mom, by way of Jenny, for this group photo. Christmastime was spent with the Havard family down in Williamsburg this year. There was lots of great food, trespassing through the yards at the top of Sugar Bush to get to the school field, gift opening, and great times. The day after Christmas we all headed north to D.C. to celebrate Jim and Jackie's wedding at the Mansion at O street. The mansion is a huge, wacky house with over 100 rooms, secret passageways behind bookcases and mirrors, eclectic art, artist-signed guitars, and much more. Our shower had many settings, including an overhead rainfall. We again enjoyed great food, we played tunes, were entertained by Mac's baseball memorabilia, and explored the house. Thanks Jim and Jackie for an incredible event, and thanks again Mom and Dad for having us in Virginia. I posted a few photos.
December 6, 2009: Quinn is taking over the posting for today. Here's Quinn. We went to the pancake breakfast. We went to the puppet show. We went to the candy store. We got hooks for our ornaments. I played with my leapster and I finished my game. Oh, we went to the train show and we saw lots of trains. Merry Christmas to everyone, and to all a good night. Thanks, Quinn. I posted photos.
October 4, 2009: Quinn's 6th birthday party was today at the Discovery Museum in Bridgeport with 12 of his friends. The theme of the party was "things that fly" and the boys built and decorated planes, twirly helicopters, hoopsters, and rockets. I posted a couple of pictures.
October 3, 2009: Despite a forecast of rain, Quinn's soccer team, the Golden Tigers, played their 3rd game of the season today. It was a great team effort, and the Tigers played their best game yet. Here is Quinn (#19) scoring a great goal early in the game. Although no one kept score, the tigers romped. I neglected to mention on here that Corina celebrated her 40th birthday 2 days ago.
September 19, 2009: Rock and Roll Saturday Night. I hadn't posted photos in too long, so I just put a bunch from June to present in the photos section. I left out leg wounds and bloody mouths.
September 3, 2009: Summer passed, with little action on this site, but a lot went on. Sometimes I just have to move on and let things go unreported. Quinn starts first grade today; he seems happy about it. Nathan starts his preschool next week. Quinn lost his first tooth last night, and Nathan is happy to have company.
The current "fastest horse in the world", Rachel Alexandra, runs in the Woodward at Saratoga this weekend. A 3 year old filly running against older males in a Grade 1 race like this is pretty much unheard of, and this filly will very likely win. Todd and I will probably be there, despite an angry wife.
August 1, 2009: This is funny. Find out where Todd sat all summer long.
July 2, 2009: Purchase Day Camp has begun, and Quinn is enjoying his time in the Sunnies group. He is quite skilled at stretching a single into a home run in wiffle ball and kickball, a useful talent to have at the PDC. This summer, we have the added pleasure of hosting Jonah at our house. Jonah is a counselor for the Eels and commutes with us to and from camp. Both Quinn and Nate are thrilled to have him around, as are his aunt and uncle. At right is a picture of Quinn and Jonah taken today. Looks like I have to clean my office.
May 30, 2009: I posted some new pictures in the photos section today. Last time Nana visited, she brought up two fun, beautiful, matching gecko quilts for Quinn and Nate's beds that she made herself. I guess we'll have to publish Pieced Together, volume 2 someday. Quinn also had his 3rd soccer practice this morning, and I took a picture at that. Also, Emma placed 2nd in the 100m and 3rd in the 200m at her track sectionals as an 8th grader, running against varsity high schoolers!
May 23, 2009: Columbine flowers are blooming in our backyard. Quinn has started a Saturday soccer class with the town and seems to really like it. Hopefully he will join a first grade town league in the fall. Nathan has learned to pump the swing all by himself, and is very proud. As he should be.
I forgot to mention the BWBB get together at the end of April. Mikey P. did a superb job hosting for the first time at his new home outside of Philadelphia.
Forget what I said about traffic easing on the Merritt. Although I think traffic eased considerably in the winter and early spring compared to previous years, it is currently brutal. I don't know if it's college students home, families don't vacation in May, or what, but this time of year is just terrible on the CT highways.
May 18, 2009: Quinn has provided an extensive video review of some of the LEGO Power Miners that he has built.
April 19, 2009: We returned yesterday from our first trip to Oregon in over 2 years. We had a wonderful time, and appreciate all the hospitality from Melody, Kim, and the whole Ferguson family. Activities were many, so I will make a list. Memorable events included ATV rides, trip to the Lego store, several Great Grandma visits, Easter visit from John, Michele and family, egg hunt, late-night tunes at Kim's office, carrot to horse presentations, lawn mower rides, tractor rides, cat hunts, stop go Jack game, pet treats, indoor swinging, Elianus the bionicle coming to life, great seats and great times at the final Trailblazers game of the season, coffee station break, visits to and from Max, Nicole and family, Kim's birthday, Abiqua Wind winery tour, Kenni prom dress shopping, hula hoop rolling, library trips, passing showers with occasional hail, and fine meals. See more photos in the photos section.
April 3, 2009: Jim and Jackie recently posted some photos from their Panama trip. Looks like a great place to spend some time. Mom and Dad also returned recently from Sedona, Arizona, which also looked like a worthy trip.
I've noticed that rush hour traffic on the Merritt Parkway in the morning and evening has eased significantly. A trip that used to consistently take an hour or much more can now be completed consistently in 45 minutes or less. I wish I had kept better records, but I'd say the change became noticeable during the middle of the autumn of 2008, if not earlier. As for the reason for the change, I can only guess. Unemployment, more Metro-North commuters, a rise (and subsequent fall) in fuel prices, telecommuting and ridesharing might all be factors. The CT unemployment rate was 4.4% in April of 2007, and 2 years later it is at 7.9%. So unemployment alone may have removed 3.5% of the rush hour cars from CT highways, which might be all it takes to keep traffic moving. I'm not praising unemployment, of course, it's just an observation and a guess. And May and June are coming up, which tend to be TERRIBLE months for traffic. So we'll see what happens. Has anybody else noticed a change? Let me know at email@example.com.
Update: This morning I wrote to CT DOT to ask if they had any data verifying an ease in traffic on the Merritt, and I got this quick reponse from Kevin Nursick of the CT DOT:
Hi Tom -
don't have any recent data that can be used to verify this. That being
said, folks still are turning to mass transit options, despite the fact
that gas prices have come down from record highs. We have seen a reduction
in the number of cars on the road over the last few years - maybe 5
percent or so in some locations in the state if I had to guess, but
that's probably not enough to make up the scenario that you
Hope this helps.
April 1, 2009: Nathan celebrated his third birthday with a morning party on a grey day. Here's some video, and I also posted a few photos.