Hello from Swinging London!

Border Control at 7:00 AM!

Well hello from SWINGING LONDON!

It is just after 8:00 AM (3:00 AM in Philadelphia) here on what will clearly be a beautiful day.  We got into the city yesterday by about this time after an on-time flight followed by a long wait in an enormous passport control room with a thousand or two other people.  Giant signs all around announcing that this was the “UK Border” and that if we had any intention of seeking asylum- this was the time and place to do it.

We briefly pondered that option, figuring that the British authorities would likely grant us asylum based simply on the results of last November’s election in the US, but ended up just telling the border agent we were on vacation. read more

A Tale of Two Cities

We are finally almost there! All the gods permitting we should be on a plane to London in less than 24 hours.  I have mentioned before in these pages that Mrs. Working Stiff calls me The Planner, and I suppose I come by that moniker naturally.  I do like to research and plan.  As a wise person should say sometime, one need not be a boy scout to appreciate being prepared.  Hhmmmm, maybe I’ll say that myself.

I have been planning and researching, and re-planning and re-researching for so long that I’m sure I deserve an advanced degree in something or other. (Mixology?) read more

Quotable Quotes

Crepe Myrtle Trees in Raleigh, NC

(Today’s picture has nothing to do with the bulk of this entry.)

I traveled to Raleigh a few weekends ago to hang out with my brother. Later this year he and his wife plan to relocate to the area of St. Augustine Beach, so I figured I’d better get in a last summertime visit.   The Crepe Myrtles were in glorious bloom all over town!  I took this picture during a walk around the neighborhood.  They were really quite something to see, especially when a whole bunch of them were lined up in a row. read more

Anniversary in Princeton

We did a little celebratin’ last weekend to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. Working Stiff! We made a reservation at the Westin Princeton Forestal Village (on Rt. 1 just outside of Princeton) for Saturday night and set off on our mini-adventure.

Our first stop was Grounds for Sculpture, also just off Rt. 1 east of Trenton.  The weather was not great but it was good enough and we had a very nice visit overall.  (I’ve written about Grounds for Sculpture before – please see entry from 11/22/2015.) read more

All Hands on Deck

I’ve been working on the rail-road!

Well not really, but I don’t know any songs about working on the deck! Plus, now you get to have the rail road song in your head all day!

Mrs. Working Stiff and I have been slaving away on a project to refinish our back deck. It has been almost exactly five years since the last time so I guess we can’t complain too much.  The phase of scraping off all the loose junk is complete.  Let me tell you, if you can avoid doing that – avoid it!  It is knuckle-scraping, back-aching, sweat-breaking, sun-baking work.  Not to mention time-taking.  Hopefully though, the result of all this hard work will be breath-taking. read more

Bring it On Home

NOTHING to do with Mickey Mantle!

We spent last weekend in Cape May, where the wintry winds did not prevent us from having a very nice time. As can be seen in the photos (courtesy of Mrs. Working Stiff), we enjoyed a bit of a wine/beer tour of the town on Saturday.   We had a delicious and nutritious lunch of pretzel bites and French fries at The Ugly Mug, which is one of our favorite spots on the Washington Street Mall.  (Both the pretzel bites and the fries are GOOD!)

“The Mug” is known for the hundreds of ceramic mugs hanging from the ceiling.  The process for getting one has always been designed to limit access – meaning that they don’t want any old patron who comes down for a weekend to be able to get one.  It used to be that you had to be there on a certain weekday way off season to apply.  On this particular weekend I made the momentous decision to bring my mug home!  Over the years I have had fun on my occasional visits with getting it down and using it, at least if I was going to be drinking beer.  The policy has always been that if you can find it and reach it, they will wash it and serve you with it.  For me, that has never been a problem, though it has moved around from time to time – or should I say from hook to hook. read more

South of The Border

We had occasion just a few weekends ago to drive to Florida and back over a long weekend. Mrs. Working Stiff, who is generally not fond of a long drive, was a very good sport and we had a good trip all in all.  It helped that road conditions and traffic were as good as we could have asked for along the entire trip, and I’m happy to report that we don’t have another flat tire story to relate!

We were scheduled to set out southward several hours before dawn on the morning of February 9th – a Thursday, but the ominous weather-person talk of an approaching snowstorm grew louder and louder.  With the latest available information saying that snow would be starting in our area at around midnight Wednesday, our planned departure of 3:00 AM Thursday seemed less and less appealing.  We made the decision to quickly finish our over-packing, load up the car, ice the cooler, put far too many snacks into a handily-reachable bag, and get outta Dodge! read more

It Isn’t All Bad

At a time when this seemingly endless presidential election is making it look more and more each day like the destruction of the American Empire is truly at hand, I wanted to share a brief but heartwarming story.  Mrs. Working Stiff and I recently took a road trip to Raleigh, NC to spend a long weekend with my brother and his wife at their cool pad in the historic Boylan Heights neighborhood of that city.  The traffic around Baltimore and Washington D.C. is always an adventure, but aside from that – farther down the road we had a “nicer” small adventure. read more

The Green Light Bar

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Wow how time flies! Part of me feels like we are “gearing up” for summer, though in fact here it is!  The Dog-Days are upon us and it is going to be in the mid-nineties today.  When I was a much younger Working Stiff growing up at the Jersey Shore, it was understood that the unofficial beginning of summer was Memorial Day weekend.  I guess that had to do with businesses opening up and rental rates increasing, but didn’t really make much sense, to me anyway, as a marker for the start of the summer season in part because the kids were still in school at that point.   Living in Cape May and working at a busy restaurant it always seemed to me that the season really kicked into gear with the Fourth of July weekend.  That’s when things really took off.  That was the point at which the Monday morning following any weekend was NOT substantially quieter. read more

Coney Island

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Mrs. Working Stiff is from the Detroit area, having grown up in the “down river” suburbs south of The Motor City. Back in the day when she was out late dancing or at a club with friends and it was time to find a place for some late junk food, the gang would drop in to a local “coney island”.  Not a coney island as in Coney Island, but a coney island as in a coney island.   Put down the cheese fries and raise your hand if you’re not confused yet.

I’m from the great state of New Jersey, which is considered by many to be the world headquarters of the type of restaurant that I’ve always call The Diner. Big on breakfast all day, burgers, meatloaf, and other short-order cooking and simple comfort foods.  Diners are frequently built to look like a train car – a “dining car” – and are frequently clad in stainless steel and chrome, but that isn’t strictly required. read more