Categories
1990s Blogging Career Driving Geography Holidays Military Travel Weather

Destination: Saudi Arabia

Welcome back to #TravelThursday. For this first edition of 2023 – I look back at how my year started 32 years ago in 1991.

Just 5 days after returning home to Homestead Florida after driving for 18 hours and 43 minutes and 1,103 miles from McLean Virginia (on Christmas vacation with my family) – I was on my way to Syracuse New York with a small group of airmen from Homestead AFB. Once on the ground at Hancock Field we joined-up with airmen of the New York Air National Guard, as we awaited our flight over to the Saudi Arabian desert. We were delayed by a blizzard for a few days – January 02ND and 03RD.

We finally took off late on January 04TH, and we touched down on the runway at Al Kharj AB Saudi Arabia at 1204 local time (0404 U.S. East Coast time) on January 05TH 1991 – exactly 32 years ago this morning.

I was assigned my tent at “Tent City” – W-23 – and I quickly made 9 new friends who would also be my tentmates in war (Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm).

I traveled a lot during the 10 days from December 27TH 1990 to January 05TH 1991. From Northern Virginia to South Florida by car – from South Florida to Central New York by plane – and from Central New York to near Riyadh Saudi Arabia by cargo plane. One thing was certain – I wouldn’t be going anywhere anytime soon. Everything else – was uncertain.

Next #TravelThursday let’s take a trip to PortMiami. Let’s keep traveling together.

All rights reserved (c) 2023 Christopher M. Day, CountUp

Categories
1980s Blogging Holidays Music Radio

My Top 5 Hits RETRO – 1988

Hello again retro music fans. Every Friday I post the Top 5 of one of my classic hit music charts based on personal preference and influenced by radio airplay from either 15, 20, 25, or 35 years ago this weekend (rotating each week).

It’s the 5TH Friday of the month, so I go back 35 years ago (since last week was a special). Here it is – for the week ending Sunday January 03RD 1988:

  1. “Crazy” – Icehouse
  2. “Don’t Shed A Tear” – Paul Carrack
  3. “What Have I Done To Deserve This ?” – Pet Shop Boys With Dusty Springfield
  4. “True Faith” – New Order
  5. “Need You Tonight” – INXS

With this edition of #RetroFriday from 35 years ago I leave 1987 behind and enter 1988. It was an unusual year of pop music for me. It was largely a rerun of 1987 in that a lot of the hits that arrived stateside were already hits in Great Britain (where I lived) the year before. Many songs – especially early-on in 1988 – were spending over 20, 30, and even 40 weeks on my chart, as their chart runs were either a continuation or a resumption of their chart runs in 1987.

Longtime Australian band Icehouse scored a surprise # 1 smash on my first chart of 1988, and it was not a British rerun. It was their U.S. breakthrough hit at Top 40 radio and on the mainstream pop charts. Here’s the video that tells a “Crazy” story:

Next #RetroFriday I’ll go back 15 years ago to January 2008. It’s when a Nashville Tennessee “Tooth & Nail” band were near the top of my chart with 1 of their 3 hits.

It’s halftime my friends. I’ll be back on Sunday and Monday with 2 more blog posts for this weekend. Enjoy your Saturday. Thanks for going retro with me !

All rights reserved (c) 2022 Christopher M. Day, CountUp

Categories
1980s Animals Blogging Holidays Home Life Weather

The Legend Of Fluffy The Manx Cat

Today it’s a very special edition of #RetroFriday. It’s the return of a Christmas classic that’s been featured on my blog before in various forms. It’s the story of the greatest Christmas gift ever – the arrival of a cat.

It started out as a morning like any other, but just a few hours later it would become a morning that forever changed the lives of me and my little brother, and our Mom and Dad.

Exactly 39 years ago this morning on Friday December 23RD 1983 me (age 16½) and my little brother (age 8½) looked out our living room window at the snow and the ice on the ground of our backyard. It was a bitter cold morning in McLean Virginia 2 days before Christmas, and we were happy to be warm and comfortable inside.

But there was a creature stirring outside that was not warm and comfortable. It was a lonely young cat with no tail that was wandering around aimlessly on our ice-covered backyard patio deck, and it was shivering in misery. Me and my brother decided rather quickly that it did not belong in the harsh elements of the outside at that moment, so we opened the door and she walked right in to our more sheltered screened-in ‘Florida Room’.

We gave her some milk to drink. She loved us for it. We gave her some love. We heard a strange sound coming from her that we hadn’t heard before. It was the friendly and inviting sound of her purring. We let her in to our warm and comfortable home. She never looked back. In fact she refused to leave after that. We pretty much named her ‘Fluffy’ that day, and she instantly became an important part of our family – the missing link if you will.

That’s a young me in 1985 holding a young Fluffy. I was about 60 pounds lighter than I am today.

She was the 5TH member of our family, and she was the start of nearly 30 years of felines in our family. Fluffy loved us all, but she clearly adored me the most. During her younger years she anxiously awaited me to open the basement / laundry room door for her first thing in the morning so that she could run (and beat me) to my bedroom upstairs for a long round of petting and purring. During her later years in Jacksonville Florida when she was slowly dying she literally came back to life over and over again and jumped and loved on me and ran upstairs to my parents’ guest room whenever I arrived for a short visit. She lived a long, happy, and healthy life (until April of 2001), and she provided lots of love to our family starting with that very first Christmas of 1983.

There have been other cats and dogs within our family over the years since then. Fluffy eventually gained a feline roommate with Barney (also known as “the cat that never liked me”). After Fluffy’s death Barney eventually gained his own feline roommate with Pumpkin. Boots was my own loving cat and housemate for 12½ years here in Homestead Florida until his (expected) death on May 17TH 2007. He was the coolest cat that ever lived.

But it all started with “Fluffy The Manx Cat”. She was the Matriarch of all of our family pets (to this day). She was the Queen of her castle. She was the stability of our family. She was our family’s common denominator. She was the center of attention. She was the most lovable cat that ever lived.

Fun Fact: This WordPress blog is a spinoff of my former hit music based massivesmash.com web site that I created in 1995. That web site grew out of a previous web site known as “MANx On The Net”. That first web site was a spinoff of “MANx Cat BBS” (1993-1997) – a dial-up bulletin board system run via MS-DOS typical of its time that was inspired by and named after Fluffy.

All rights reserved (c) 2022 Christopher M. Day, CountUp

Categories
Blogging Health Holidays Shopping Travel

Step By Step

Welcome back to #TravelThursday. I’m on my 4TH smart watch now in 7 years. I was introduced to the wonderful world of Fitbit back in November 2015. It was one of my surprise #ThanksChristmasGiving gifts that year from my family. I wasn’t expecting it. I didn’t really know what a Fitbit was back then. They bought me a Fitbit Charge. I eventually got that first Charge replaced with a new one free-of-charge because the wrist band broke on it. After a few years I got a Fitbit Blaze to replace my Charge, and that was definitely an upgrade. I had to replace the wrist band for it several times, but recently it’s been increasingly difficult to find replacements because it’s obsolete. (I’ve been lucky to find it mostly via Amazon.)

I asked my brother for a Fitbit Sense 2 (brand-new in 2022) as my main #ThanksChristmasGiving gift this year, and that’s exactly what I was expecting to open at the Christmas tree on Thanksgiving morning.

I did not get that. I removed the wrapping paper, and there it was – an Apple Watch. For a few moments I was disappointed. My brother kind of sensed that, as he mentioned that he had the gift receipt for it in case I didn’t want it.

I don’t return gifts. I embrace gifts. So as is tradition on Thanksgiving morning – after everyone in the family opened all of the gifts underneath the Christmas tree – I went upstairs to pack. (I usually drive or fly back home the next day.)

But before packing for the return trip home – I unpacked my new Apple Watch, and I charged it up all the way while doing research for it online. (I knew nothing about Apple Watch until I read all about it.) The more I read – the more I got excited about it. I was looking forward to having it completely charged so that I could take off my Fitbit Blaze for the final time and put on my Apple Watch for the first time. And so I did that.

My new Apple Watch has been on my left wrist ever since then – with the exception of showering every day and recharging it every couple of days. I even wear it to bed to monitor my sleep. In a nutshell – I love it. It’s got far more features than my former Fitbit Blaze – particularly all of the charts and graphs on the various iPhone apps associated with it.

I wonder how long this wrist band is going to last ?

I guess I’ll be with Apple Watch indefinitely now. Fitbit had a good 7-year run on my wrist.

Next #TravelThursday I’ll go the distance. Let’s keep traveling together.

All rights reserved (c) 2022 Christopher M. Day, CountUp