Archive for January 2016

The Storeroom part 1

January 29, 2016

One of our goals for this year is to clean out the storeroom. Mary has been living in condo for many years. So there is little extra space to store stuff (ie. no garage, no attic). So she had rented a storage unit in San Pedro. At one time, I am told that she had rented up to six storage lockers. But now she is down to only one.

So today we went down there to see what’s what. We took Mary along so that we could get the pass code for opening the gate. We loaded up the Jeep with a box of trash bags. Here is what the locker looked like when we opened it for the first time. Luckily there doesn’t seem to be any signs of mold or mildew.

So started sorting through this stuff. Mary was quite the packrat. We did find some pictures. We filled up about five bags with old program notes and other stuff not worth keeping. Next time that we visit we will not need Mary. I don’t want to have to ask her permission for some of the stuff we dump.

Close to the top of the pile, I fond some black and white pictures of Harold, Mary and Paula from 1950 to 1960. Here’s Paula at her birthday party. I can just hear her asking, “Daddy, can I keep the pony?”


Paula c 1954


Family c 1950

And one more thing that we found. This is Mary’s ID card from Douglas Aircraft in Long Beach from 1944.


Mary’s ID Card

That’s enough for now. I will post more pictures and stores from time to time.


January 27, 2016

SpotlightNormally on Tuesday evenings, we have our family over for dinner. But yesterday, Mike and his family had another engagement. So we had an opening in our social schedule. So we decided to go to the movies again. We have been trying to catch up on our Oscar nominated films. So this time we decided to go see “Spotlight

So it was still playing at one of the AMC theaters in Torrance. Cost was $9.60 each for seniors. We went to an early show (4:55) and not a big crowd. There was maybe about a dozen people in the theater. I don’t think the subject matter (Catholic Church and Pediophilia) was a big draw to the 20-somethings out there.

It got Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Director (Tom McCarthy), Best Supporting actor (Mark Ruffalo), Best Supporting actress (Rachel McAdams), Best Screenplay (McCarthy and Josh Singer) and Best Editing (Tom McArdle).

The film stars Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Stanley Tucci and Rachel McAdams. Directed by Tom McCarthy. The film tells the true story of the Spotlight investigative journalism team at the Boston Globe that uncovered systemic involvement of the Boston Archdiocese in hiding child molesters and moving the child molesting priests from parish to parish in hopes that they would not be discovered.

This was a really good film. There was no shooting, car chases or fights. It showed the hard work in uncovering the truth. One result of the articles that were published in 2002 was the resignation Cardinal Bernard Law who was the Archbishop of Boston. The Pope moved Law to a cushy job in Rome where he could live out his life in comfort. My feeling was Law should have been indicted and brought to trial for something or other. (Accessory to rape or assault maybe). He should be sitting in a jail cell in Cedar Junction Prison in Walpole rather than living the good life in Rome.

There were lots of great exterior shots of Boston and its neighborhoods. It felt like I was home again. There was even a shot of the T station on the Red Line. Now it’s called UMass station. When I was a lad, it was Columbia station (named after Columbia Rd). Brought back the memories of getting off the T (or MBTA as it was called back in the 60’s) and trudging in the dead of winter from the station to the school. Damn, it was cold.

In the film, the reporters are seen digging through archdiocese directories that listed the priests and what parishes they were assigned to. They found some priest were listed as being on sick leave. They then discovered a host of categories that they used when a priest wasn’t quite working every day as a priest. In that fashion they discovered almost 90 potential child molesters. Back in those days one had to look information the hard way. No Google.

Also mentioned was Boston College High School (BC High). BC High is a Jesuit high school that is right across from the Boston Globe building on Morrissey Blvd in Dorchester. Here’s a pointer to several articles in the Boston Globe about the scandal and the making of the movie.

So my two brothers and I all attended BC High but before the time that the incidents were said to have happened. Also, one of my nephews attended BC High and graduated circa 2008. So every time that the word BC High was mentioned in the film, my wife gives me an elbow to the midsection. My midsection was getting sore.

One of our friends from our senior bible study at Ocean View asked me if it was the child sex scandal that caused me to leave the Catholic church. I told him that not really. I was already fed up with the church long before the sex scandal went down.  It was just another nail in the coffin.

This was a great film. Go see it. We stopped to see the Colonel (KFC) for some fried chicken on the way home. We got a bucket of chicken, cole slaw and mac & cheese. Home by 7:30. We woke Mary up for a fine dinner. Paula had a beer and I had a nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc.


Blizzard of 1978

January 23, 2016

Somewhere on rte 128

   So I am reading about the activities back east tonight about people getting stuck in the snow. It brought to mind the great blizzard of 1978. The blizzard formed on February 5, 1978 (a Sunday). Everyone who lived through the that blizzard has a story. Here’s mine.

My Monday morning started off with my going to work at DEC in my office in the Mill in Maynard. By about 10 am, my boss was telling everyone to head home before we would be stuck for the duration. This was of course long before the concept of working from home.

So before I left the Mill, I called (my then) girlfriend Paula. I talked to Paula’s room mate Joan. Joan told me that Paula had just gone to bed after working the overnight shift at Children’s Hospital. Wake her up, I told her. Joan says to me, “You sure you want to do that, Joe”. Yes, I am sure. If she doesn’t get up. She won’t see me for at least 4-5 days.

So Paula comes to the phone. Remember this is long before cell phones. I tell her that I will be by in about 45 minutes to pick her up. I told her about the pending storm. She agreed. And I picked her up about 45 minutes later and we headed for my place in Newton Highlands. We managed to make to Newton from Brookline without getting stuck. I pulled into the garage and we headed inside (and stayed inside).

Needless to say we had a wonderful time. We snuggled in my warm king size water bed. Then at about 2am, the phone rings. I answer and say “Hello?”.  The phone replies, “This is Harold Stanley, is Paula there?” I roll over and hand the phone to Paula and say it’s your Dad. Paula eventually talked to her mother. I don’t think that Harold ever told Mary where he found Paula. Apparently he had called her apartment and Joan gave him my phone number. Paula convinced her father that she was safe and warm.

Eventually, the [er] honeymoon was over and Paula had to go back to work. She had luckily been on a two day off period. So we had to figure out how to get her from Newton to Children’s Hospital. We made a sign for her and she managed to hitch a ride from nice folks who were out riding around. Then after about another couple of days I had to go back to work.

Peter Stuyvesant at Pier 4

 One other event of note that happened that week was the sinking of the “Peter Stuyvesant”. This was ship was once a famed Hudson River riverboat that was moored next to Anthony’s Pier Four in South Boston. The “Peter Sturvesant” was used for wedding receptions and other big parties. It was where the reception for my brother Rich’s wedding to Mary back in 1973. That was way before Paula’s time. But it was one hell of a party.

Here’s a pointer to the Wiki entry on the blizzard of 1978. And here’s a pointer to some pictures in the Boston Globe.

The Revenant

January 23, 2016

RevenantTonight was date night. Paula and I went to see “The Revenant” with Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Handy. We saw it at the AMC on Crenshaw. We didn’t spring for the iMax version. Senior price was $10 something per ticket. That was a little pricey for our taste.

Okay, here’s the deal. Leo plays a mountain man who is out trapping for furs with a bunch of his buddies. I guess it is in Colorado or thereabouts. So the trappers get attacked by indians. Lots of bullets and arrows flying through the air.

Somehow our mountain man gets separated from the main group and gets himself attacked by one huge grizzly bear. And in the process, he gets himself mauled up pretty good. His pals leave him for dead. So any normal human being without antibiotics would have died from the wounds. No, not Leo, he survives. And now recovered somewhat he seeks revenge.

So he slowly makes his way back to the fort/outpost with the help of some friendly Indians along the way. He goes for a 2-3 minute swim in an ice cold rushing stream. By this time any normal person would have died from hypothermia.

Cinematography was excellent as well as the makeup. I read where Leo did five hours in the makeup artist’s chair to get ready for filming. Dialog was a bit difficult to understand. I kind of knew what was going down. Of course, the Indians’ dialogue was subtitled. So we knew what they were saying.

Good picture, but a bit on the long side. Picture ran 2.5 hours. Add in the 15 minutes of trailers and you get one (or two) sore butt. We were also annoyed by the young people that were sitting next to us. Person sitting next to Paula was texting through half the picture plus they were getting up crawling over us to head to the popcorn stand. Eventually the texter got up and left. Apparently, the movie was not her cup of tea. PITA

I’d give the movie 3.5 stars (out of 5). Theater ambiance was – 2 stars for allowing idiots to be texting.


Chicken Kabobs

We went to dinner at Fanoos Persian Restaurant in the same shopping center as the movie theater. Just a small cozy bistro. Not too pricey. I had a chicken/lamb kabob combo. Paula ordered an appetizer plate with all kinds of tasty stuff. Good service. Reasonable prices.

Got home at about 10:30. Mary soundly sleeping.

Good night all.



Happy Birthday

January 20, 2016
2016-01-20 10.27.15

Pastor Rich, Pastor Jacques and Mary

The celebrations have begun. This morning at the Seniors’ Bible Study at Ocean View Baptist Church in San Pedro we had a cake and sang “Happy Birthday” to Mary. Her actual birthday is on Sunday January 24. I expect that Pastor Jacques will announce her birthday at OVBC service on Sunday. She’s doing pretty good for 92 years old. By the way, the cake was very tasty.

A Priest, a Minister and a Rabbi…

January 11, 2016

I have been working on catching up on some posts that have been sitting in my ‘Draft’ folder for a while. I started this post about six months ago.

So Wednesday morning we have our senior Bible study at Ocean View Baptist Church. Sometimes, I think the group should be called “Ratholes’r’Us” but that’s another story. Now we can’t have a decent discussion about scripture with out food and drink, we are well provided for. We have muffins, home made cookies, coffee (both regular and decaf), and many other tasty treats.

So recently we have been studying the Acts of the Apostles and we are now on the tail end of chapter 27 (which is the getting close to the end). So in Chap 27 we find Paul aboard a ship heading to Rome. Travelling by ship in the first century AD was a perilous undertaking. So for someone to travel from the coast of Asia you either walked or you took a ship. If you walked, you had better have a centurion or two to protect you on the way.

So at the end of Chapter 27, Paul has been captured and is being transported back to Rome. While on the way, things get a little bit dicey and the crew is shipwrecked. Here is the last few verses of chapter 27,

[39] Now when it was day, they did not recognize the land, but they noticed a bay with a beach, on which they planned if possible to run the ship ashore. [40] So they cast off the anchors and left them in the sea, at the same time loosening the ropes that tied the rudders. Then hoisting the foresail to the wind they made for the beach. [41] But striking a reef, they ran the vessel aground. The bow stuck and remained immovable, and the stern was being broken up by the surf. [42] The soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners, lest any should swim away and escape. [43] But the centurion, wishing to save Paul, kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and make for the land, [44] and the rest on planks or on pieces of the ship. And so it was that all were brought safely to land.

So at our Bible Study, things are going good. We are managing to make it through the chapter. But no, someone has to ask,  “what about the life preservers?” Wasn’t there a joke about life preservers and  members of the clergy in a life boat. So I promised to do some research on this important point of our study. Searching for life preserver jokes was considerably harder than I thought,

As the storm raged, the captain realized his ship was sinking fast. He called out, “Anyone here know how to pray?” One man stepped forward. “Aye, Captain, I know how to pray.” “Good,” said the captain, “you pray while the rest of us put on our life jackets – we’re one short.”

I did find an amusing parachute joke with several variations.

A doctor, a lawyer, a little boy and a pastor were out for a Sunday afternoon flight on a small private plane. Suddenly, the plane developed engine trouble. In spite of the best efforts of the pilot, the plane started to go down. Finally, the pilot grabbed a parachute, yelled to the passengers that they had better jump, and then he bailed out. Unfortunately, there were only three parachutes remaining.

The doctor grabbed one and said “I’m a doctor, I save lives, so I must live,” and jumped out. The lawyer then said, “I’m a lawyer and lawyers are the smartest people in the world. I deserve to live.” He also grabbed a parachute and jumped.

The priest looked at the little boy and said, “My son, I’ve lived a long and full life. You are young and have your whole life ahead of you. Take the last parachute and live in peace.” The little boy handed the parachute back to the pastor and said, “Not to worry, Pastor. The ‘smartest man in the world’ just took off with my back pack

There you have it.

Fish Cakes

January 11, 2016

Back in the day, when I was a child, the Roman Catholic church forbade members from eating meat on Friday’s. The idea was that we were supposed to atone for our sins by giving up something that we enjoyed. In our neck of the woods, I think that the idea backfired. A generation grew up really liking fish seeing that was the main alternative to roast beef or chicken.

So as a child we would eat fish cakes for Friday breakfast. I know what you’re thinking. That’s a bit weird. But for us it was our normal. Fish cakes for breakfast and frozen fish sticks for dinner. My parents might not have fish sticks for dinner, they probably had a lobster. Fish cakes lathered with ketchup was good eating. Today, I would probably add some hot sauce.

So on Thursday evening while the kids were working on their homework around the kitchen table, my mom and dad worked on prepping the fish cakes for the following morning. They would use salt cod mixed together with boiled potatoes. So the fish cakes would be put into the refrigerator ready to be fried on Friday morning.

Salt cod can be difficult to find in a supermarket. But it can be found. You need to ask the man in the meat/fish department. Sometimes they’ll have it, other times not. You could of course get a dumb look.

Believe it or not, you can buy salt cod on I haven’t tried it but I probably will one of these days. Salt cod needs to be soaked for 8-12 hours before you can use it in a recipe to remove the salt. So you can’t do this on the spur of the moment.

Also, there are tons or recipes available on the internet. Here’s one of the recipes that I have used and like. Click here.


January 10, 2016

This post is intended for my friends on the east coast. It is raining in Los Angeles. It has been raining off and on for last couple of weeks. It’s been snowing in the mountains. This is good for us. That doesn’t mean that I like it.

So I am a “blow-in”. I moved to San Pedro in the summer of 2012. The term “blow-in” is a somewhat derogatory term used in many suburban towns in Massachusetts. A “blow-in” is some one who has blown in from somewhere else and insists that they know how things ought to be run.

The opposite of a “blow-in” is a “townie”. A townie is someone who has lived there all their life along with their parents and the parent’s parents. A townie has had the same teachers in school as their parents.

But I digress. Back to the subject at hand, rain. Up until last week, I hadn’t seen rain in the better part of a year. I had almost forgotten how to turn on my windshield wipers. I had to dig out the umbrella from the back of my Jeep.

One way, we can tell if we have had a rainy winter is that one can see green grass growing on the hillsides. The same grass will be golden brown by August. This rain probably won’t mean the end to the drought, but it will help.

As many of you have heard that our rain is due to El Nino this year. El Nino changes the jet stream such that low pressure systems that would normally turn left at the Pacific coast and head up to Washington and Oregon. Now the low’s head right for LA.

In Mass. one never sees  any old VW beetles. They have all rusted away. In LA, 30 year old beetles are common. No rain means no rust.

The other effect of the rain is mud. After the wild fires in the summer, all of the vegetation is gone. So when it rains in the winter, there is nothing to hold the earth in place. The end result is mud slides. A very nasty mess.

I will close with a humorous video I recently found on youtube about how LA people react to the news of rain.

Remember when we talked about…

January 4, 2016

Okay, we started a new year on Friday. On Saturday, we planned to take Mary to the wedding of our friends Stephenie and Jeremy from OES. So we had talked to Mary about this several times over the past couple of weeks. We usually review our calendars with Mary at the beginning of the week. Mary writes things down in her calendar that she keeps in her purse.2016-01-02 18.48.19

So she asks us on Saturday what are we doing today. We explain to her that we will be taking her to the wedding. She says, “Who’s Stetphanie?”. I think we answered that question about four times Saturday. We sometimes make the mistake of starting the comment to her with the words, “Remember, when we talked about…”. When we know full well that she doesn’t have a clue who Stephanie is or for that matter anybody else she might know.

By the way, the picture was taken at the wedding. As time goes on she seems to be having a lot of trouble remembering people that she has known for years. I have this fear that one of these days, she is going to get up in the morning and ask, “Who are you? And what are you doing in my house?”

So we got her to the wedding at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. I drop off then go park car. The church is right next to the lodge so that one only has to walk down a path to get to the lodge. But the path was dark and a little bit uneven. A dark and uneven path really upsets her. So, Paula on one side on I on the other walk her across the path. All the while telling her that we have you in hand. You will not fall.

I suspect that her world is very confusing. She reads the newspaper every day. Most times three or four times. If we didn’t collect the paper and put it in the recycle bin, she would read it again. She watches the evening news (both local and national). We record it on our DVR, but she has no clue how that works or how to operate it. When they announcers talk about things like the internet, or hacking or social media, I am sure she doesn’t have a clue.

We all had a good time at the wedding, but knew it was getting time to go when I see Mary looking at her watch. When are they going to serve the cake? Not leaving until she gets her cake. Many people stopped to chat with her at our table.

The reception was at our lodge. I suspect that the lighting was disconcerting for her. They had lights that changed colors every few minutes and it was dim. So time goes on. So in 2016, she has started on her 92nd year. We try hard to keep her safe. Whoever said the growing old was easy?