Saturday, October 31, 2009

welcome breanna marie & alexandria

Breanna Marie McCaskey, born Saturday, October 24, 2009 at 8pmish, at Wyandotte Henry Ford Hospital in Wyandotte, Michigan. Six pounds, eight ounces according to Granny Carolyn.

Breanna Marie McCaskey (click to enlarge)

Amber, Brian, and Breanna Marie (click to enlarge)

Daddy Brian meets baby Breanna (click to enlarge)

Also, Alexandria LaPorte met the world on October 16, in Chicago I think. I don’t have any details, have to ask, but I know Bob LaPorte is thrilled (thank you to Wendy for sending on the photos!)

Alexandria LaPorte a few minutes after she was born on October 16, 2009 (click to enlarge)

As soon as I get some more details and photos, I’ll make a gallery for the October babies!

posted by lee on 10/31/09 at 09:43 PM

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Saturday, August 01, 2009

paint the house: check

One of Dad’s entries on his summer To-Do list was getting the house painted. After getting his color choice approved by the homeowners’ association (don’t get me started on these little pockets of fascism), he had Darryl and Scott do the work (Darryl is brother Scott’s friend from at least high school, if not earlier) and they did a great job.

scott and darryl painted this house August 1, 2009
Scott (l.) and Darryl (r) pose next to their handiwork, August 1, 2009. (click to enlarge)

From all directions:

house painted, front
The front, which faces East. (click to enlarge)

south side of house
The South side. (click to enlarge)

back side of house
The back of the house, which faces the sunset. (click to enlarge)

North side of the house
The North side. (click to enlarge)

Wow! What a difference! See the original color in this entry: painting begins. I’m looking forward to seeing it later this month (and seeing Dad, too!)

posted by lee on 08/01/09 at 09:53 PM

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Saturday, June 06, 2009

off to bermuda

Dad left on his cruise for Bermuda this afternoon. Maureen, Stanley, and I saw him off from the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal. He wanted to take a cruise (a leisure cruise—his stints in the Navy and as a merchant seaman don’t count!) and took the plunge and booked this cruise to Bermuda via Norwegian Cruise Lines out of Boston.

We arrived at the cruise terminal shortly after 1 p.m. and Stanley and I waited with Dad while Maureen dropped the car off. The line was astonishing, at least two city blocks long, and that’s the line to get through security.

Stanley Thomson and Jim Fleming at Black Falcon Cruise Terminal
Stanley and Dad, the outside line, June 5, 2009. (click to enlarge)

Maureen caught up with us after parking—and the line moved surprisingly fast. We’d already moved up a block by the time Maureen found us. I found out later that, when fully booked, the ship Dad is on, the Norwegian Spirit, carries 2,000 passengers. The lines were intimidating if you’re not used to that sort of thing, and it can get pretty confusing trying to figure out where to go once past security, but we kind of followed the crowd and got directions from the women who seemed to be in charge of keeping the queue in order and moving. Security was no hassle except Stanley set off the alarm and had to be hand-wanded—turns out it was the staples from his heart surgery that the scanner didn’t like. He showed the guard his chest and was waved through.

Norwegian Spirit through the terminal window
Looking through the window at the Norwegian Spirit while waiting to check in, June 5, 2009. (click to enlarge)

Dad was both nervous and excited, but the line continued to move fairly fast. To look at the crowd in the terminal you would think the din would be overwhelming, but it wasn’t, and the flooring was made of the stuff, the rubbery layer, that makes standing for a while bearable—and the entire line to checkout took just an hour. I guess we shouldn’t have been so surprised that it went so fast—NCL has been doing this for quite some time now.

Jim Fleming leaving for Bermuda, June 5, 2009
Jim Fleming, getting ready to embark, June 5, 2009. (click to enlarge)

We got to stay with Dad until he reached the gangplank. We waved good-bye and then drove around the wharf areas to see what was there and stopped at, I think it was Yankee Lobster Market, for a late lunch—lobster rolls for Maureen and Stanley and I got a scallop roll. The clam chowder is nothing special, but the scallops and cole slaw are really good.

Dad called Maureen about an hour after the ship left the dock, which he said happened around 4:15 p.m. He told her he likes his cabin, had already met some people, and was off to grab some dinner. Maureen said he sounded pretty happy. We think he’s going to have a great time and I’m looking forward to his reports from shipboard—I hope he can send at least a photo or two if he wants to. Ah, a cruise ...

posted by lee on 06/06/09 at 02:53 AM

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Friday, May 15, 2009

starting a ticket pool

Well Dad went and got himself a muscle car. It’s sweet:

Jim Fleming with his new Charger
Dad and his cherry red Dodge Charger Photo by Lee Fleming Thompson (click to enlarge)

Jim Fleming, Dodge Charger, Oscoda, May 8, 2009
Sitting in his brand new car (trying to figure out how to use the satellite radio) Photo by Lee Fleming Thompson (click to enlarge)

I love the color.

Scott says we should set up a pool for when Dad gets his first speeding ticket. I think we should! We can each kick in a coupla bucks ... I’ll send email around and collect picks!

It’s a nice ride. We put almost 800 miles on it driving from Oscoda to Wyandotte, Dearborn, Ann Arbor, and back again. Satellite radio is really cool—you can get NPR all the time!

Now if gas doesn’t skyrocket, he should be happy with his new car for quite a while!

posted by lee on 05/15/09 at 08:47 PM

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

david allen mccaskey, may 1, 2009

Meet David Allen McCaskey, born May 1, 2009 at 10 a.m. in Dearborn, Michigan at Oakwood Hospital:

David Allen McCaskey, May 1, 2009
David Allen McCaskey Photo by James Fleming. (click to enlarge)

I know I’m way behind getting things blogged—blame it on a horrific deadline (two deadlines). But we made it to Michigan and we made it to Dearborn to meet Riley and then to Wyandotte to meet David (aka Baby DAM) and Sunday we have to leave Oscoda and head back to Connecticut.

Here are some more photos, all taken by Dad (he’s pretty good with the camera!):

David, mom, dad
David Allen McCaskey, mom Tammy, and dad Aaron Photo by James Fleming. (click to enlarge)

david and carolyn
David Allen McCaskey and Grandma Carolyn Photo by James Fleming. (click to enlarge)

Leo, David, and Kelly
Leo (in the background), and Aunt Kelly holding David Photo by James Fleming. (click to enlarge)

And one more—Leo took this one and I love it:

PapaJim holding great grandchild number two! Photo by Leo Robertson (click to enlarge)

Much more to upload, such as photos from our baby meets and hopefully some images from our trip to Ann Arbor to see the play Leo was prop manager for—have to process them first.

posted by lee on 05/12/09 at 04:36 PM

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Friday, April 24, 2009

i’ll post more tomorrow, i promise

Great PapaJim sent several photos today, and so did Grandma Diana, from Aunt Michele. Tonight I am posting two three four of them, and tomorrow I will gather as many as I can up and make another gallery so people can get access to the high resolution versions in case they want to make prints. Riley is at home now.

First, Dad sent some photos of his and Carolyn’s trip to the People’s Market at University of Massachusetts in Amherst—the store that Kate has been working at since she started college in September 2007.

Kate Silverstein, Jim Fleming, Carolyn Fleming, April 2, 2009
Kate, PapaJim, and Carolyn at People’s Market, U-Mass Amherst, April 2, 2009. Photo by Jeff Silverstein. (click to enlarge)

Okay, now on to the Riley photos. By the way, the photo in the previous post was sent to me by Matt. I’m not sure who took this next photo, but I love it.

James Fleming and Riley Rose Downey April 21, 2009
Great PapaJim holds Riley, April 21, 2009. Photo by ? (click to enlarge)

And one more tonight, this excellent one taken by Dad:

Matt, Kristine, and Riley Downey, April 21, 2009
Matt, Kristine, and Riley Downey, April 21, 2009. Photo by James Fleming (click to enlarge)

Okay, one more, because I really like this one too: Grandma Jamie and her first grandbaby:

Jamie Skipworth holding granddaugher Riley Rose Downey April 21, 2009
Grandma Jamie holding Riley, April 21, 2009. Photo by James Fleming (click to enlarge)

Grandma Diana and Grandpa Pete have news and photos posted on the Downey family website as well. A lot of really nice photos.

posted by lee on 04/24/09 at 03:59 AM

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

riley rose downey finally met her great grandfather

Just got the news—she was born at 1:31 a.m. on April 21, 2009, weighing 8 pounds. Dad didn’t remember how many inches when he called to tell me. So, Stanley and I are Great Uncle and Great Aunt. Of course we are. Dad said Kristine is doing well, but very tired—understandable after many, many hours of labor.

And she shares April 21 with her Great Great Grandfather John Dunn Jr.—my mother’s father—don’t know why that pleases me so, but it does.

I’ve been promised photos after Dad gets some sleep. Dad said she’s gorgeous. Can’t wait to meet her!

UPDATE: 21 inches! And here is the first photo I’ve received—not sure who it’s from since I don’t recognize the cellphone number, but she’s so beautiful! Click the image to enlarge it:

Riley Rose Downey, April 21, 2009

posted by lee on 04/21/09 at 06:10 AM

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

waiting for riley

Meant to post this photo a couple of weeks ago, when I got it. It was taken by Kristine’s mother-in-law, I think.

Kristine, waiting for baby, in late March 2009Kristine Downey awaiting the arrival of Riley Rose—this is about three weeks before her due date. Photo by Diana Downey. (click to enlarge)

Kristine was due last week. So I’ve been waiting for the phone to ring for days now, announcing the arrival of Riley Rose Downey. If she doesn’t show up in the early hours tomorrow, the docs will induce labor and she will arrive sometime on April 20.

If she can hold out just another day, she will be born on the same day as her Great-Great-Grandfather John Dunn Jr., born April 21, 1891. Riley is the first “great”—she will be my first “great niece” and Dad’s first great grandchild. Which will be cool because Kristine was the first niece/grandchild in our immediate family.

There are two more “greats” due this year—Aaron’s son David some time in May and Brian’s child some time in November. I wish my mother were still with us—she loved babies so.

posted by lee on 04/19/09 at 10:05 PM

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Joan Gulyas, 1940 - 2009

It’s taken me two weeks to be able to write about my Aunt Joan’s death. She died on February 4, in a hospice, surrounded by her family. She died of lung cancer, which had metastasized to her brain.

Dad and Stanley and I went to visit her in the hospital in December, just after Mom’s funeral. I was shocked when I saw her—I knew she had cancer and I knew she’d been undergoing treatment for it, but I didn’t expect she’d be so thin. But she was awake and aware and totally pissed off because she wanted to go home—she was bored with being in the hospital. And she wasn’t ready to leave this mortal coil yet—she said she had things to do still.

Joan Gulyas and daughter Wendy, 11/6/04, by Leo Robertson
Joan Gulyas and her daughter Wendy, November 6, 2004 at Mom and Dad’s Golden Anniversary gala, photo by Leo Robertson. (click to enlarge a little)

When Dad called me to tell me she’d died—something I knew would happen too soon—it felt like a searing pain in the middle of my chest. I couldn’t breathe. Another person so important in my life gone. My mother’s sister, another of the Wyandotte Dunn Girls, gone. She was just 68. I tried to write several times, but I couldn’t—my heart is still raw from losing Mom and thinking about Aunt Joan just let loose all these memories and loss and I’m just now starting to get a grip on it all. I have a card to send to Uncle Ron, Wendy, and Michael—I haven’t been able to think about what to write in it so I can send it. Maybe I’ll be able now that I can finally write about it.

She was smart and funny and fun and, I think, courageous—she could have given up her battle with cancer when her son, Keith, died on May 26, 2007—but she didn’t. It’s way too soon to have lost her—I had some questions about our family tree that I was going to ask her about last spring when we started talking via email, but she went out of remission and I started dealing with the reality of Mom’s FTD and we never did continue past a few messages back and forth. I’m sorry I didn’t make a chance to ask her more. I did find her messages in the forums though—it’s kind of eerie, reading them.

It’s funny—when I think about Aunt Joan, I think about her when she was married, with kids, when I’d go babysit for her, or we’d just go over to her house with Mom to just hang out and I’d listen to Mom and Joan talk, their humor, their “sister” language that I mostly understood but not all of it, their intelligence. But when I dream about Aunt Joan, I dream about her as a teenager, in high school and just afterward until she married Ron, and I remember Ron riding on his bike to see her and wearing a babushka to keep his ears warm and how she laughed, and playing the “stone game” on the steps of the front porch of the house she and Mom grew up in, and how pretty she and my Mom and aunts all were ... all from before I was six or seven years old.

Next week we will make a donation in her name to the Wyandotte Public Schools Scholarship Foundation, which was listed in her obituary in the Detroit Free Press. And I’ll send that card.

posted by lee on 02/21/09 at 04:59 AM

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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

catching up, with teeth

So much for my pledge (to myself) to post at least a couple of times per week. Lots of stuff going on, several projects keeping us busy. There are two that I can make public.

The first is a new ecommerce website, the first of several, Gear for the Poles. The idea is to offer travel gear and apparel targeted to specific destinations. We will soon put up Gear for Africa and Gear for the Galapagos, maybe more (maybe by activity, we’ll see), all under the necessaryGear logo.

The other project was setting up a blog for Westport Benefits Group. We just finished it last night and Steve Parmelee, the site owner, has written his first post.

We also have several other stores in the works, a new site we’ve just started working on, a database we’re building, a redesign for two other sites, and Google ad campaign support ... I think that with this economy, people are planning on using their web assets and polishing them to get the biggest bang for their business marketing and collateral bucks, which is where we can help.

OH MY - and a review of THE CHART HOUSE
Last Friday, I really wanted to get to Natick to see my Dad—we planned on going to bingo with him, just hanging out over the weekend and then heading back to Connecticut while the Superbowl was on (we don’t do football—and we didn’t want to drive with the post-game drunks).

More "catching up, with teeth"

posted by lee on 02/04/09 at 03:23 AM

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