Monthly Archives: December 2011


What do you think of when you see or hear the number 44? I know the first thing that comes to my mind is Henry Aaron. I think of Willie McCovey and Reggie Jackson, and for some reason, Danny Darwin. I think of Pete Maravich, Danny Ainge, Jerry West, and George Gervin. I think of Chuck Foreman, Robert Newhouse, and as a Cowboy fan growing up, the dreaded John Riggins. I think of Stephane Richer, Nick Boynton, and Glen Murray. I think of the great Syracuse running backs who wore number 44, Floyd Little, Ernie Davis, and Jim Brown. Although I don’t belong on any of these lists; I think of my 44th birthday later this week.

I know Henry Aaron played primarily before my time, and of all the 44’s he is the one I would want to sit and watch play every day. Pete Maravich, Jerry West and Jim Brown would be on the list too, but Aaron is one of my athletic idols. Maravich is definitely one of my all-time favorites as well, but when it comes to 44, I think of Henry Aaron first. I have watched footage of him over and over again, anything I can get my hands on. What a player! The home runs are what everyone knows him for but he also had 3,771 hits. That’s the third most all-time! Have you seen footage of Hammerin’ Hank hitting a laser right by the pitcher, who barely reacts before the ball lands in the outfield? As someone who loves hitting, and everything about hitting a ball well; I can only imagine how many times Aaron squared up the ball on his bat over the course of his career. I would have loved to see it live, to hear it live and in person. Henry Aaron, number 44.

So, this week the number 44 gets a little bit more attention, at least in my mind. I think it’s a pretty good number. Some tremendous athletes have worn it over the years. I have listed some in this post and there are plenty others too. Thanks for reading through this. Who is your favorite 44?

148 hours until Christmas!

It’s Sunday night, December 18th. We are less than a week from Christmas. Roughly 148 hours until December 25th starts. Is that enough time to get everything done that you need to get done? Is that enough time to get into the Christmas spirit if you haven’t done so already? The latter is easier. It just takes a moment to make the decision. The first might be tougher, but you do have time. Enjoy each hour. Merry Christmas!

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This might be why couch pillows go flat

I am not sure I have enough proof here, but here goes. Aside from watching this little tale unfold with my own two eyes, I think the pictures tell the story. I find it interesting that the stash of “fluff” was not only, not hidden, but was at an elevated view. Theodore is seen trying to return the “fluff” back to the pillow I think. Jacqueline was proudly guarding the stash. Meanwhile the victim pillow was left in the wake, on its own to zip itself closed at a less than full status. Upon dad intervening both of the twins readily handed over the remaining “fluff” they had clenched in their growing fists. I returned the “fluff” to the victim pillow amid the verbal urging of Jacqueline, who was saying “shzip, shzip, shzip”. I finished the brief surgical procedure and the twins both clapped as if their relinquishing the “fluff” was a noble act worthy of praise.


This is the victim pillow, left open to more pillaging


Theodore makes a mad dash to return the evidence


Jacqueline guards (loosely) the accumulating pile of "fluff" while Theodore grabs more. (Notice she wipes her hands free of the evidence)

Everyday priorities

Recently, my youngest brother’s father-in-law passed away. Or my sister-in-law’s father passed away. Either way, it’s been a major and sudden impact on their family. I don’t want to know what the feeling of suddenly losing a parent is like. I have lost friends and loved ones in my life, and they are all different. Through offering help in any way possible, thinking on these recent events, and how they have affected my brother Pete and his wife Louise, has made me think. Today I was thinking, and writing a response e-mail to Louise who had thanked me for a couple of things, including this tribute, when it hit me. Priorities. Everyday priorities.

At the end of the day, at the end of all days really, there is God and family. When we think all is lost and we are at the end of our rope, there is God and family. True trust and faith in God in addition to help from family is what allows us to push ourselves beyond the thresholds we run past. God and family.

Many people might answer the question properly. The question being, what are your top three priorities? God, family, self, or job, or career, etc. But are they really a priority? Priority is more than saying so, it’s a guideline to how we actually do so. Or better yet, the actions we perform daily, weekly, and so on, those are really how our priorities are defined. Here is how reference books define the word priority.

Priority – 
  • greatest importance – the state of having most importance or urgency
  • somebody or something important – somebody or something that is ranked highly in terms of importance or urgency
  • right of precedence – the right to be ranked above others

Breaking down this word and its definitions it would seem that our actions would define the order more than anything else. When push comes to shove, how do we spend our time? How do we spend our conscious thought? If we behave in a manner of seeking God, talking to God, doing God’s will, and working each day to be the best example of God we can be, then chances are God is a top priority. If we decide that our time and energy is best spent on bettering our family, the people in our family, and helping them through every turn then we probably have made family one of our top priorities.

So when our life is turned upside down, or we have lost someone close and can’t wrap our minds around why, it’s probably God and family that we will count on to get us through. Better yet, this assistance will come naturally, automatically,  and in greater amounts than we could ever imagine, as a result of having lived life with our priorities straight. And maybe sometimes the someone we lost had lived life with such strength in these priorities that the good, the just, the calm, the peace they lived in everyday, it overtakes us. It beckons us to follow in those large, imposing footprints that grow with each passing day. The footprints of those who came before us, or maybe even the footprints of the Lord Himself. Either way, these things happen for a reason and if your heart is pulling you, your conscience tugging at your every fiber to follow, to make a change for the better, then you may want to heed this urging.

Certainly our everyday priorities could make or break life before, during, and after the toughest times of our life. If our priorities during our toughest times are what get us through, imagine how enriching our lives could be if we conducted everyday in the same manner. It is something to consider. Something to be conscious of. Everyday priorities.

Moose – My Favorite

Bull close up

Bull moose in Errol, NH

Over the last few weeks I have been thinking about the North Country of New Hampshire and Maine while missing the hundreds of hours I have spent with my favorite animals, Moose. These are just a few of the hundreds of moose pictures I have taken over the years. The majority were taken with my 35mm camera so I have the prints and negatives and not nearly as many on my digital camera. Continue reading

Twin Adventures- Swinging at Grammy’s house

Today we went to my mom and dad’s house for our weekly visit. The sun was shining and temperatures were in the low 40’s. The grass is still green and the trees don’t look as cold and barren as they usually would in December. Either way, the twins wanted to go outside to play. Upon conquering the granite front steps they inevitably head to the swings. Today was no different. Theodore was the first to swing today as Jacqueline will challenge him for the seat but withdraws quickly as she really doesn’t care much about swinging. Or at least she cares much less than Theodore does. He loves to swing. The higher the lift and the faster the pace, the happier he is. Typical boy, right? He will gladly sit in the swing and swing for several minutes until his seat comes to a complete stop. I was pushing Theodore and we were having a great time as he flew higher and higher. Meanwhile miss Jacqueline was off exploring the wild frontier known as Grammy’s yard. Emma, Jacqueline’s 4 year old cousin, was also parading around the yard, mostly as an authority figure. Although both of these young ladies would come across as ‘in charge’ while around each other.

Theodore finally gave up his spot on the swing and took off for the greener grass of riding a toy tractor down the driveway. Now it was Jacqueline’s turn on the swing. Usually this doesn’t last too long as it’s more of a public appearance to her than an actual desire to swing. Today was a little different though. I gave her some pushes and she enjoyed the speed and height more than normal. I got my head in close to her and retreated as she and the swing neared. She loved this and giggled openly. Then she told me some things in a language I am on the verge of understanding. I am pretty sure she was critiquing my pushing ability as well as telling me about the yard, the trees, the atmospheric pressure, the U.S. Space Program, how many times Chris Paul has been traded this off-season, the extended forecast, and her favorite moments over her first 19 months. Then a couple more giggles, a smile or two, and the word “down”. This was followed by her pointing towards Grammy and Theodore who were setting land speed records on the driveway. If you haven’t seen her point her index finger let me describe it for you. The point starts with a lightning quick motion from her hip to the full extension of pointing. This would be similar to the speed and conviction of an old western gun fighter. Short of the moustache and saying “I’ll be your huckleberry”, you’d think the draw of her pointer finger was equal to the likes of Doc Holliday. Sometimes she will really hold the point position to make sure her intentions are fully and undeniably known. When she holds the point position, she tenses her entire body with a hint of a knee bend, her pointing hand is firm and leaves a lasting impression. So, naturally, I stopped the swing and got her down before any scolding took place. Once on the grass she gently reached for my finger as to walk her across the yard. Somehow I think she appreciated my sense of urgency to get her down from that swing. Just a few minutes later it was time to leave so the twins could get their naps at home. Thus today’s adventure of the twins swinging at Grammy’s house came to a close.

Jacqueline Sophia Beal on Grammy's swing December 2011

Jacqueline enjoys her time to swing today

Theodore Jamison Beal on Grammy's swing December 2011

Theodore is grateful that December is mild enough to swing, even if it's a little chilly