Saturday, January 30, 2010


Man is it COLD, 24 BELOW ZERO this morning and a bit nippy out, Today was a day of rest and relaxation, we went to Marty and Penny Graus for Cards and a Cook-out! YES we cook out in the winter, We went up to Eddie's Meat Market and got some Country Spare Ribs with the bone in, these things weigh about 2 to 3 pounds a piece.

We sat around and played Euchre and snacked and talked, watched the temperature drop to below ZERO, played more Euchre where Penny and I lost to Marty and Anna 4 to 1!!!

At 6PM Marty and I went to the Garage an fired up the gas grill, by now it was only 7 BELOW ZERO and the temp was dropping and it was getting dark.

We huddled above and around the Gas Grill trying to keep warm while we cooked and smothered the Spare Ribs in the "Secret Reciept", Meanwhile back in the WARM house Anna Mae and Penny whipped up a huge Macaroni Salads, pork dressing and fresh toasted oven bread.

It is cold, a nasty very bitter cold, this is the kind of cold that will freeze your lips to a beer can !! Usually we don't get this kind of weather till mid February but its hjere now!!! I thought we were in a "Global Warming" trend!!!

It is interesting as we heard word from Sunny Warm Florida that during the "Cold Spell" Lake Okeechobee lost some fish due to the severe drop in water temps, My mother in law who lives in Okeechobee on a canal said there were dead fish floating in the canal behind her house. I guess it smelled pretty bad.

One nice thing about living here in Northern New York as you do not smell much when you go out side when it's below Zero because anything liquid in your nose freezes solid there by blocking any smell!!!!!

We had a good day of R & R, home and watching the thermometer keep dropping because at 9PM it is now 10 below Zero and falling!!!

As I close don't forget to remember and say a prayer for our Veterans, past and present who have and are currently serving our country!!!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Staying BUSY

Well, we have been staying busy, Tonight was our Church's turn for the Thursday "Stone Soup Supper" and Dan and Ginny and Anna Mae and I whipped up a nice meal of Scalloped Potato's and Ham, corn, green beans, fresh made bread and plenty of deserts. We started out setting up and had a couple come and help this morning and the rest of the day it was just the 4 of us working, our committee has shrunk down to mainly the 4 of us. BUT "We-got-er-done!!!!!!!

We cooked the potato's and cut up the ham and then mixed them together with some Onion powder, whole milk and let them cook for 5 hours adding just enough milk and butter to keep them so they were not soupy but not like paste. We started feeding at 5PM and fed 86 people and there was just enough left so the 4 of us could eat and NO LEFT OVERS!!!!!

We got many compliments and also a lot of phone calls during the afternoon because were were getting SNOW and lots of WIND and it was bitter COLD but we cooked it and they came out in the storm to eat it. It snowed and blowed all day but they were a lot of happy people coming in all bundled up to enjoy the meal and thank us for having it during the storm.

Hey Jack, *(Shipslog) Dan Durant was on the USS Independence, 59 -63, Gunners Mate. Also Glen Sweeny who was an "Airdale"!!!

Wednesday night, our group, "The Friend's of God" played at the Country Manor, Nursing home, we got enough together to play and had a good time, Karl who usually plays got called into work again, Karl drives the big "SNOW-PLOW" to keep the roads open so us dummies could get out in the storm and get to where we just had to be. I didn't know the guitar player on the far left in white or the Bass player behind Roger in the hat but 2 quick phone calls and they showed up to help play.

Sitting in the crowd, listening to us play was my Cousin Barb, and many people of the community who I have watched age old over the past 20 some years I have lived here, sad to see where ones life line takes them but we all get there to "Old Age" sooner or later!

This "Young Lady" above came in with her "Walker" and sat until the music started, we did a Hank Williams song, "I Saw The Light" and up she got, pushed her walker out of the way and man oh man could she ever do a mean "JIG" ! Her name is Minnie and she sure did love the music which makes it all worthwhile.

There are several of this group above who are friends from church, they were once up and about, helping do Chicken Bar-B-Q's at church, singing in the choir, sitting in pews around where we sat and now they live at the Nursing home, We stopped in and visited with my wife's cousin, we call him Uncle Jim and he is suffering from Pancreatic Cancer, I asked him if he needed any thing and he said "Yes", he said Gary, "I would like to get real drunk", "then I would have a good reason for feeling so sick"!!!

We even got one Young Lady up to do a little singing and Dancing, the lady on the right in the yellow shirt is Rogers wife Peggy who is kind of the Boss of the outfit, she keeps track of where the Band plays, the dates they play and helps her husband and others carry in all the equipment and shes a great gal!!!


On a sad note I close this entry, we attended calling hours on Sunday from 2 to 6PM after Church for my Wife's last surviving Uncle, Abe Astafan, Then we attended Mass at 11AM on Monday for his funeral.
All my uncles passed on my mothers side and I adopted her Uncles as if they were mine, Uncle Abe was the last of 5 brothers, to pass away, Abe's parent's, Shahieen Jacob Astafan married Anna Nojiem and came here from Lebanon as Immigrants, they had; Shahieen Jacob Astafan, Abraham Shahieen Astafan, My wife's father, Libnan Shahieen Astafan, Jacob Shahieen Astafan and Romeo Frederick Astafan and a girl, Bernadette Astafan who married "Big" John Tanoury, also a WWII Veteran.



Thursday, January 21, 2010

Moving on.

Well its time to move on and get back into life, Mourning is a slow process, Death is not the end, Memories, fond thoughts and and a long friendship cannot just end. So, Mark Fuhrken, "Sleep in eternal restful sleep Brother, You will always be in my thoughts, True friendship lasts a lifetime and you my friend will always still be a part of my life.

January is a rough month, Mark was called home on January 8th, 2010, I lost one of my other Great friends "Ziggy" on January 9th, 2008 and another friend Clarence Keddy on January 19, 2008. Hopefully January is almost over.

"Thanks" to everyone out their for their Prayers for Mark, thank you for the emails of comfort and support you all sent. They helped me a lot.

I give credit to My Honey, Anna Mae has been my Rock and support in these tough times of loss of current and past friends and also two of my friends for helping lift me up and get back on track.

This is Karl and Roger, they both have many great qualities, a firm belief in God, accepting that Jesus Christ is part of their life and these 2 are also a big part of my life and also their wives are great ladies, Karl and Roger have an extensive Ministry are are involved in many things in and out of their churches, it was Karl and Roger that got me back into singing and playing guitar with them and they call themselves "The Friend's of God" and I thank them for their friendship.

Tonight we played at the Natural Bridge Seventh Day Adventist Church at the weekly "Stone Soup Supper" hosted by their church which is Karl's Church.

The meal of Lasagna & Tossed Salad was delicious and plentiful. After the meal we were joined by some of the girls from the church to help us "Make a Joyful Noise To The Lord" as the good book says and we did. We did a great Praise Service of Music and as always had a lot of fun.

In the above picture is me and Armando Hernandez, I met Armando way back in the late 60's, he can sure play the Guitar, in fact back in the 60's he gave me some lessons and taught me a few things on the Guitar. I had not seen him in about 25 years and it is funny how the good Lord brings people back into your life.

We played to a nice group tonight, and we have a lot of dates scheduled to play.

Let us not forget our Veterans, those serving and those who have served.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Loss of a Friend

Do not stand at my grave and weep, I am not there, I do not sleep, I am a thousand winds that blow, I am the diamond glints on snow, I am the sun on ripened grain, I am the gentle autumn rain, when you awake in the morning's hush, I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight, I am the soft stars that shine at night, do not stand at my grave and cry, I am not there, I did not die.

I am saddened to tell you that my friend that I have been asking you to pray for for the past several years has passed on, Mark S. Fuhrken left this earth from the ravages of Pancreatic Cancer at the age of 56, he fought a good fight to the bitter end, fighting this disease for several years.

Thank you for all your Prayers and now we have to keep Mark's Family in our Prayers for comfort and guidence in these sad times.

I met Mark in 1974 and we both quickly became fast friends on and off the job.

The picture above was one of our big "Drug Bust's" Mark, myself and shift supervisor looking over the drugs, money and I am holding one of the weapons we confiscated, Mark and I worked the same shift, had the same days off and worked together a lot either walking a "Beat" or working in a Patrol Car.

Mark worked as a Police Diver, and other jobs on the Police Department and received numerous "Awards" from Life Saving, Canine Participation, fire rescue of people to name a few.

Mark during one of his better days when not fighting the disease, After retiring from the Police Department Mark worked for several Television Stations as a Cameraman and Technician.

This is Mark and his "Sunshine", his wife Marie took fantastic and loving care of Mark before, during and even after the toll of this awful disease.

A "Smile" a "Laugh" and a good memory!!!

In between the bouts of cancer Mark's attitude was good and he always managed a smile.

Above is Mark in an earlier visit back to New York, Mark loved to visit during the winter to enjoy the snow.

Making some memories when fishing.

Mark and Marie and their oldest son Lee on the river.

Me and Mark trying to solve the worlds problems and talking about the future. Mark knew that things were not good but this never stopped his smile or caring attitude for his wife an family and friends.
We made a fast plane trip to Texas, to be with Mark and Marie during Marks last hours here on earth, His wife kept telling Mark of our progress, we landed, she told him we were en route, she told him we were on the elevator on our way to his room and to hang on, BUT Mark passed away quietly alone in the room with his loving wife just before we entered the room, I think God wanted Mark and Marie to have their last loving, living moments together. Anna Mae and Marie left the room and I offered prayed for Mark while I held his hand. Whenever Mark and I ended a phone call we ended it with, "I love you, Man"! and that is how I left it, I kissed him on the forehead and said, "I love you, Man"!!!
Some time ago and again recently Mark had asked me to do his funeral and we discussed it at length, It was tough going for me but in Honor of my friendship with Mark, I did it, I made it thru his Eulogy, prayers and Marks son Lee read the 23rd Psalm. It was rough going and hard to see thru the tears but I made it a Celebration of Marks Life.
I read Paul's letter to Timothy, 2nd Timothy, 4: vs 6 - 8 which Mark liked. There were many people at Marks wake and also a lot of Marks Police Friends.
Mark leaves behind many friends and a lot of family.
No man was ever prouder of his family than Mark.
This family picture is of Marks oldest Son Lee, His Wife Marie, Mark and daughter Venus and Lee.

Marks son Matt is currently in the Army and stationed in Germany.
Let us remember our Veterans, those serving and those who have served us so well..

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Years Party

Well its a New Year, and hopefully it's gonna be a great one, Last year for 2008 - 2009 we had a "New Years Eve" party here, we had about 25 people show up, we had some chips & Dip, a few snacks, played some cards, the party was from 7PM to 9PM, we cleaned up and left after everyone left and went back to their apartments, I think anna mae and I were the last to leave at 10PM. It was a pretty dull welcome to 2009 so this year we felt a "Party" was in order for 2010.

I started out Dec. 31st about 9 AM and de-boned a "Beautiful" 25 pound Prime Rib Roast with 14 ribs, I cut the roast off the ribs. 1 of our Tenant's "DONATED" this 25 pound beauty for all to enjoy!!!!

The "Roast" was then tied up and retied to the ribs, I used soy sauce, crushed pepper, minced garlic and onion powder for the "RUB" and put it in the oven at 550 degrees for 20 minutes until it browned up and then opened the oven door and turned the heat down to 200 degrees and let the roast just cook along at 200, I checked it only twice, when the ends were at 155 degrees and the inside was at 130 degrees I took it out of the oven to let it "Rest" for awhile. Prime Rib continues to cook even after you take it out of the oven so the temperature was perfect.

Above is a "Perfect" delicious Prime Rib cooked to perfection!

The Prime Rib is Ready, and the "Au-Jus" for gravy or dipping came out delicious, the roast did not have a lot of fat on it and cooked nice, we peeled and cooked 20 pounds of potatoes, we had people bring a dish to pass which was stuffed Cabbage, fried potatoes, Potatoes au gratin, cabbage salad, corn casserole, chocolate bunt cake and chocolate cake. We ate at 4PM and everyone enjoyed a hot juicy fresh slab of prime rib either well done all the way up to my favorite cut which is bloody rare.

I said a Prayer and "Grace" and we were ready to eat!!!!!!!!!!!

There was plenty of food and a lot of people came back for "seconds"!! We had 35 residents come for dinner!

We finished our "Prime Rib Dinner and got the dishes and tables cleaned up about 5:30PM so everyone could go rest because at 7PM we were going to have BINGO!!!!! Anna Mae and I went to the Dollar Store and bought Hats, Noise Makers, beads, and 15 door prizes so we could have some drawings up till midnight! Everyone who showed up got a ticket and I drew numbers until 5 minutes to midnight !

Above is My Honey setting up the Snack Table for Bingo and New Years Eve, at BINGO we had we had 16 winners!!!

We finished up Bingo, put on some music, and people started playing cards, eating, and we opened a few bottles of wine, had some beer, and sparkling grape juice and everyone was having a "GOOD TIME"

Some of the men all got together for a picture!!!!

AND the Ladies then got together for a group photo!!

This young lady who is 95 has celebrated 25 New years here at West Side Terrace! She is also my "Aunt Irene"!!!!!

There was a lot of remembering of the past year and believe it or not even some thoughts that 2010 was going to be a better year!!!!

A "Sailor" and a "Marine" had to share a few stories, of course mine were all the truth!!!

We talked, we played cards, we sipped wine and Sparkling Grape Juice and enjoyed the evening to end 2009!!!

My Honey got out the "Pokeno" game which was enjoyed a lot!!!!!!

Card games and conversation were popular!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Someone donated a couple bottles of Champagne and some Sparkling Red Grape Juice for celebrating and OK, its now less than 1 minute till 2010 and we all have juice or champagne and are counting down!!!!!!!!!

Good-bye 2009 and "Welcome" 2010, Happy New Year!!!!!!!

We are now into 2010 and a lot of people are still up, a lot of Tenant's said what a wonderful way to bring in the New Year, it was a lot of fun and better than sitting all alone in their apartment staring at the walls and wishing they were somewhere having fun !!!!!

We are pleased that we could join our neighbors and friends here at West Side Terrace and help everyone who came enjoy them selves!!!! As for the year 2010, It's gonna be a "Good-Un"!!!

Don't forget our Past and Current Veterans as we start the New Year!