Monday, September 2, 2013

Friday Night at the Rock Cats Game

Susan, Hannah, Tanner, Erick, Skylar and I spent a really cool evening at the New Britain Rock Cats game in New Britain, Connecticut.

Arriving a few minutes late, we grabbed some food and settled into our seats.  I should add that the seats were courtesy of Tanner, who had purchased them at a charity golf outing.   The stadium is nice and relatively new with few poor seats in the house.  With $5 and $10 prices, an evening out at the ball game wont break the bank either. 

Down 3-2 to the Reading Phillies when we arrived, the home team put together several multiple run innings to steal the game 7-3.   All of the players were unknown to me: no major leaguers on rehab assignments or pumped prospects.  I was particularly impressed by their closing pitcher, Dakota Watts, who cleaned up the final two innings, striking out four of the six batters that he faced.  Those who did put wood on the ball did so out of self defense.

Minor league baseball is quite a bit different than the major league variety.  Sure it's cheaper.  Ball parks are also smaller so the average fan is much closer to the action.  Local clubs work hard to make it a family friendly evening: New Britain allows kids to run the bases after the game as an example.  Where else can someone see a race between aerosol can mascots sponsored by the Eastern Aerosol Association!

The evening also marked Skylar's first trip to a ball game.  One would be hard pressed to understate how much fun she had eating ice cream in a plastic helmet; stealing Hannah's cone; running the bases after the game; or 'oohing' at the 'mink' (pink) fireworks!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

My Parents 50th Wedding Anniversary

50 Years of Marriage - Larry and Virginia Boulden

Susan, Erick, Hannah, Skylar and I traveled to Westlake, Ohio for my parents 50th wedding anniversary.  The big event was held in the cultural hall of the North Olmstead Ward building on Saturday July 27th.

Erick and Hannah before the guests arrived
Joining my folks, Larry and Virginia Boulden, in this celebration were forty years of good friends and family from as far away as Texas.  The old crowd from the Cleveland Modern Dance Association, including Marv and Charlene Nevins, still looked pretty spry on the dance floor.  Newer friends from the ward pitched in to help organize, decorate and manage the event.

The Lingafelters and the Rees' brought their usual good cheer across town when they came.  Kim Opitz, one of my Mom's two sisters, drove all the way from Amarillo with her husband Dave.  Garmin led them astray on more than one occassion, but they made it.

Fifty years of anything is an accomplishment.  Fifty years of marriage is something more than wonderful.  I don't think I've ever seen two people who better compliment each other.  Along the way, they've worked hard and treated other with respect.  Growing up in their house, I can't recall any sharp words passing between them.  Ever.

Cutting the cake

If the question were posed, they would probably tell you that their love for each other is stronger today than it was 50 years ago.  

Congratulations Mom and Dad.  And thank you.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Erick joins the Army

Our son Erick has joined the United States army.  He will depart for OSUT (one station unit training) at Fort Benning, Georgia on October 1st, where he will train to be a cavalry scout

OSUT training is basic and advanced individual training (AIT) rolled into one.  The course is 16 weeks long and should take him through February, 2014.   According to, the 'Cavalry Scout is the commander's eyes and ears on the battlefield. When information about the enemy is needed, they call on the Scouts. Cavalry Scouts engage the enemy with anti-armor weapons and scout vehicles in the field, track and report enemy movement and activities, and will direct the employment of various weapon systems onto the enemy.'

We are extremely proud of him.  This was a big decision for Erick.  He's picked a demanding occupation and chosen to serve his country!  Where he will be stationed once his training is completed is as of yet unknown.

Susan, Evangeline, Skylar and I attended his swearing in ceremony on July 3rd at Westover Air Force base in Chicopee, Massachusetts.  Erick has some commitments between now and his departure, but for the most part is relaxing and spending time with his daughter, Skylar.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Hannah Graduates

Hannah with Grandparents Boulden before the ceremony

Our daughter, Hannah, graduated from Simsbury High School on June 24th with all the pomp and circumstance that one might expect.   The 2012 -13 school year was a challenging one for her.

During the course of the year Hannah sustained a serious concussion which sidelined her for almost a month, caught mono and suffered through a host of other issues.  All of these issues put her behind the eightball in some fairly challenging courses.  

Being voted Homecoming Queen 2012 is just about the only good thing that happened.

Homecoming game, September 2012

Certain that she wouldn't make it, her attitude began to shift in the final three months of the year. 'I'll never complete everything and graduate' turned into 'I think I might be able to do this' before finally growing into 'I'm going to do this!'

We are very proud of her!

Owing to an abnormally high number of snow days throughout the year, the graduation ceremony was held on a Monday evening.  The threat of rain forced the administration to shift the venue from the outdoor  amphitheater on Iron Horse boulevard to the high school gymnasium.   High temperatures and extreme humidity, the kind of air you can reach out and swat, combined to produce a brutal experience.  Thankfully the administrators keep their comments succinct.

Hannah's grandma and grandpa Boulden and Grandmother (Marisue Besse) were unable to attend because of seating restrictions.  While bummed, they were certainly happy to sit inside and enjoy the air conditioning!  We were happy that they could be here to celebrate with us.

Congratulations again Hannah.  While the culmination of one journey, graduation from high school is really the beginning of another.  We'll be there to cheer you on every step of the way.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Simsbury Charlie Brown Tree - Hopmeadow Street

The 2011 Year End Letter

I have procrastinated writing our traditional year end letter long enough.  Typically these things follow a simple formula: opening paragraph, any important events, updates on each family member, and closing paragraph.   Some of it is usually true. Some.  Readers, all five of them, get about halfway through before nodding off to sleep.

I vowed that this year's Boulden letter would be as different as 2011 was.  Big events, and there were plenty of those, will form the main course.  Freakishly weird weather, and there was plenty of that too, will be the garnish.

January Snowstorms
Hannah and Sadie Roughhousing

It all started with a bang!  More snow fell in the first two weeks of January than I have ever seen in my liBallroom Travelsfe, including the big winter storms in the mid 1970's.  In fact, it was the most since 1945!  All told, almost 60” fell in a few weeks.  That's five (5) feet of snow clogging the roads and caving in roofs.  Houses were completely obscured by large banks left on the side of the road by the plows.  At the end of the day, I think school was canceled for what seemed like a month!

Here's a shot of Hannah playing with Sadie in the snow.  In a related story, I had to shovel walkways in the snow so that the dog could use the bathroom.  Clearance, was clearly an issue for her.

Ballroom Travels

Spring, the short season in between snowfall and blistering heat, was filled with trips to Ballroom dance tournaments.  Expeditions were made to Boston for the large MIT tournament and the Harvard Invitational.  We also visited Troy, New York for the Renesselear Polytechnic tournament.  An active dancer for years, Hannah has cooled a little on ballroom lately.  Cheerleading seems to have replaced it as the major focus of athletic endeavor. 

Gastric Bypass Surgery

My father, Larry Boulden, underwent gastric bypass surgery this April.  “ No more insulin, no more testing.  This is what I want.  If I become a skinny, sexy new me, I can handle it.  But my first goal is to whip diabetes,” he said in a March blog post.  Beat diabetes he did.  Dad is now 93 pounds lighter and no longer takes insulin or blood pressure medicine.  Way to go Dad!  To learn more about his journey, visit

Mother's Day

Ordinarily Mother's day doesn't get a special mention in the blog.  I mention it this year, because I put together a cool video for Susan that includes tons of pictures of the kids as they've grown up.  If you're interested, watch it here:

July 4th Weekend

Out of nowhere, Dave and Jackie Moore asked us to join them at their beach house near Narangansett, Rhode Island for the 4th of July holiday.  We spent the days walking along the sea shore and the evenings watching the beautiful sunset from their balcony.  A wonderful time.

On the Sunday morning we were to leave Dave asked us to join his family for some jet skiing.  Now, it's been a good 15 years since I have been on a jet ski.  It would be hard to describe what I was thinking as Hannah took me out for the first ride and nearly hit 60 mph.  I think it sounded like.  Oh &%(@) and Oh my )&%.  Why don't you *^#(ing slow down.  Really felt like an old guy.

I should add that we attempted to repay their kindness by cooking a nice meal one night.  Boy did I flame out.  The sauce was burned.  Almost inedible.  In fact, I have included a picture of their sauce pot.  Really sorry about that.

Dave, Jackie, Sara ….. thank you very much for your hospitality.

Erick and Evangeline's Wedding:

Without doubt, the biggest event of the year was Erick's marriage to Evangeline on August 6th at the Pilgrim Covenant Church in Granby, Connecticut.  The kids met at the bus stop on the first day of school in September 2005.  From that moment on they were pretty much inseparable.  Watching the two of them exchange vows was one of the highlights of my life.  Susan alternately smiled and cried throughout the ceremony. 

The reception was held later that afternoon at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Unionville, Connecticut.  Thank you Arlene and Steve for running the grills and keeping everyone fed.  Thank you  Dave and Jackie Moore; Jackie, you can run a kitchen for me anytime.   Thank you Marisue, Carolyn, Mom, Dad, Laura, Jess and everyone else who helped make the day a success.

Click here to view the album

Bob's 75th Birthday:

Susan flew out to Empire, Michigan for her father's 75th birthday party at the cottage.  Her family has   visited the cottage together for more than 40 years.  Returning there to reconnect with family and spend some time with her father was a special treat for her.  Given Bob's cancer diagnosis, it meant the world to Susan to be able to share the day with him.  I heard that it was one heck of a party.

For those of you who don't know.  Bob and Barbara have a cottage on Lake Michigan in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lake Shore.  The area was voted America's most beautiful place by Good Morning America this year.  It is simply stunning.

Hurricane Irene:

Hurricane Irene crept up the East Coast of the United States in late August, hit Long Island and then center-punched Connecticut before ravaging Vermont.  Much of Connecticut was without power that day.  We were lucky.  Power was out for less than 24 hours.  Our basement did flood though.  At one point we had close to 7” of water down there.  Susan asked me to reconnoiter the damage.  Dutifully, I walked halfway down the steps before a box of Christmas ornaments floated by like a barge on Mississippi.  Yeah, it was ugly.

Dad's 70th Birthday Party:

My mother hosted a big party to celebrate my father's 70th birthday at their home in Westlake.  We all, with the exception of Gavin who had to work, were able to pack up and drive in for the party.  We had a great time celebrating the day with him and meeting many of his friends for the first time.

Winter Storm Alfred:

Homecoming weekend in Simsbury started ominously with a Simsbury loss on Friday night.  There was some mild speculation that Homecoming might be canceled due to the impending storm the next day.  No one took it seriously.  The next day much of New England got smacked by Winter storm Alfred.  More than 12 inches of heavy, wet snow fell, pulling down trees and knocking out power lines.  Homecoming was canceled as we descended back into life without Electricity.  Power was out for nearly 6 days at our house.  A woman that I work with had no power for 12 days.  The sheer scope of Alfred's destruction is hard to believe.  Widespread power outages effectively kept you shut up at home.  For the first few days no stations could pump gas.  Charging cell phones in cars would burn precious fuel.  Stuck.

However, we did take the opportunity to connect as a family.  I am thankful for that.  Hanging out together, sharing chores, cooking our meals over the fire pit.   No one froze and everyone had a hot breakfast and dinner each day.  I probably like camp fire pancakes better than regular pancakes. Strangely, we have had no significant snow since Alfred.

That was really pretty good stew!

Skylar's First Birthday:

Little miss Skylar turned 1 on November 1st.  The power outage and travel restrictions prevented us from holding her party until the 6th.  On that day we had family and friends stop by to celebrate with the cute little girl who wore a pink and white polka dot dress.  It's really hard to believe that it has been one year since the little angel came into our life.

The Robert E. Morris Company Christmas Party:

I just had to find a way to include this picture of Susan and I, taken at The Riverview in Simsbury on December 16th.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone!  May god bless your family with health and happiness.  May fortune smile upon your endeavors. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011


A fantastic Thanksgiving: My parents, Larry and Virginia, drove in to spend the long holiday weekend with us.  Erick, Evangeline and Skylar joined us for a relaxed dinner.

We spent the morning watching the Macy's parade and preparing for the big dinner.  Mom peeled apples for pie and help put together the pumpkin pie.  Susan made a fantastic Waldorf salad.  The smell of roasting Turkey filled the house.

Yesterday, we pulled up the Christmas boxes from the basement and decorated for the big holiday before heading to the playground with Skylar for the afternoon.

Skylar's had a ball on the swing with great grandpa pushing
Granny took her favorite great grand daughter down the slide

Mom and Dad mugging for camera at the park entrance
Toodling out near the amphitheater!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Random November Thoughts

The past week in Connecticut has been fair and unseasonably warm.  Today was no exception.  It seemed like the perfect opportunity to rake the leaves and clean up the yard a bit.  We continue to clear tree branches from our yard, putting them out by the street for the city to come get them.  Simsbury says that they're up to the task of gathering all the stuff left by the storm, but I doubt they will actually get everything collected before it snows.

Ah memories.   Here we are gathered around the firepit cooking stew!

Hannah celebrated her 17th birthday with a small party for friends.  She tricked out the downstairs with a strobe light and invited a friend to DJ the event.  They proceeded to crank the volume until his subwoofer just gave up the ghost and quit.  I felt bad for him.

Skylar started walking suddenly a few weeks ago.  This is traditionally the way that it happens but surprising anyways.  Overnight she changed from a crawling baby to a toodling toddler.  Now would probably be a good time to really make sure that the house is really baby proofed.

Skylar also celebrated her first birthday on November, smack in the middle of the power outage.  We had a small candle light celebration for her.  A large one with electricity and heat was held on November.  Susan and I gave her a 4' tall mini mouse.  It was just one of the cool things that she received; the kid made out like a bandit.

My mom, who also celebrated her birthday on 11/15, and Dad are coming up for Thanksgiving.  We'll have a good time.  Hopefully we'll have a chance to spend a little time at Simsbury Celebrates, the traditional local kick off to the holiday season.