Monday, November 15, 2010
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Friday, October 29, 2010
Unfortunately, that doesn't give you the slightest clue as to how cute Rachael is in real life!
Welcome, Rachael ... hope to see you in person some day soon!
I'll do my best to post a couple of blog entries tomorrow to give you a little flavor of the event. Or, even better, just turn on Comedy Central tomorrow at noon at watch it yourself!
Monday, October 25, 2010
- Cara with a picture of her late father and my brother, Tom, in her wedding bouquet.
- Aunt Mary, at 89, being helped out to the dance floor (at her request) for one dance.
- Aunt Nancy, at 82, coming off a marathon session on the dance floor and saying to me, "I used to be able to dance five fast ones in a row; now, I can only do three!"
- The DJ playing the entire 7 minute album version of "Light My Fire" by The Doors. In honor of my brother, Tom, every one of my brothers and sisters were out on the dance floor.
- An impromptu Rockettes-style leg kick dance to Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" by a bunch of New York Mullens who should have known better. No, our kicks were not "eye-high".
- A heartfelt toast to the mother of the bride, Janet Mullen, by my sister Chris Kreamer.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Congratulations Andy & Rebecca!
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Ottawa is about 460 miles from Cranbury and the concert was on a Tuesday, so Marilynn and I had to take 3 days off from work. But we hardly ever go to Canada and know almost nothing about Ottawa (it's the capital of Canada?), so this sounded like a different and potentially fun vacation. That turned out to be an understatement. Marilynn and I spent four tremendous days in Ottawa. It felt like a mini-European vacation without needing an airplane or a power adapter. What follows may appear lengthy, but it's actually a very brief synopsis of why you really otta go to Ottawa.
Bed & Breakfast
The ByWard Market
Rideau Canal and Locks
Parliament / Parliament Library
The free tour of Parliament was excellent and, in contrast to similar tours in the U.S., visitors were encouraged to take pictures and, believe it or not "touch the walls"!
Balanced Rock Sculptures
On Monday afternoon, after three and a half hours of kayaking, Marilynn and I were looking for some down time. We decided to take a scenic drive along the Ottawa River Parkway and find a place to rest, read, and watch birds. Instead, we stumbled upon the scene above. It turns out that the National Capital Commission (NCC) has been sponsoring an artist by the name of John Ceprano to create "balanced rock sculptures" for over two decades. We ended up spending a couple of hours walking around the beach, checking out the sculptures, and talking to the artist. A few additional photos are below, but you might want to check out his website here for some truly stunning creations.
The artist himself (shown above in red shorts and white tank top) was a pretty colorful character as well. He was born in the U.S. but headed to Ottawa during the Vietnam war to avoid the draft. AfterI joked with him about the SDS, he claimed to know Jerry Rubin personally. He might have been blowing smoke, but he appeared to be the real deal: an ex-hippie who has found his niche in Ottawa and is living life on his own terms.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Bluesfest! The actual reason that we decided to go to Ottawa in the first place! I had never heard of the Ottawa Bluesfest before this summer, but it has apparently been going on for over 15 years. This year, it began on July 6th and ended today, July 18th. Now, I like to think that I'm fairly up-to-date regarding music, but I have to admit that I recognized less than 10% of the artists that performed. That being said, here were some of the major groups that were there over the 12-day event: Iron Maiden, the B52's, Santana, Taj Mahal, Joan Jett, The Flaming Lipps, Rush, Crowded House, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, Weezer, The Moody Blues, Hole, Steve Winwood, Kevin Costner, Jimmy Cliff, Passion Pit, The Cat Empire, Derek Trucks, Renaissance, and, of course, Arcade Fire. Marilynn and I only went for one day, July 13th, but managed to see two other groups besides Arcade Fire: "The Aggrolites" (a ska band) and "Steve Dawson’s Mississippi Sheiks Project" which was just superb. If I ever go back (and I might!) it will be for multiple days!
"Mississipi Sheiks Tribute", "The Aggrolites", and "Arcade Fire"
One last thing: Arcade Fire is appearing live on the Jon Stewart show on August 12. Click here to see their performance on Letterman a few years ago. Man, I love these guys!!
OK, technically Lake Ontario is not in Ottawa. But it is partly in Canada and you skim right by it on Route 81 in New York just before crossing into Canada. So, for the purposes of this blog, it counts. If you've never seen a Great Lake, find an excuse to do so. They're mind-blowing. As you can see from the above photo, it's like looking out into the ocean. Keep in mind that Lake Ontario is one of the smallest of the 5 Great Lakes!
Yeah, this ended up being longer than I intended, but I was truly impressed by Canada in general and with Ottawa in particular. Not only was it a very clean and safe city, but you got the impression that everyone was extremely proud to be Canadian. And well they should be. If it wasn't for the extremely cold weather ("Portage and Main 50 below") and Reynaud's Disease, I could easily imagine living there.
Discovering Canada's Cool Capital
Arcade Fire Concert Review
Arcade Fire and Charity Work for Haiti
I'm a Grand Uncle again!
Audrey Ryan Ferguson was born at 4:13pm on July 15 to Katie and Ryan Ferguson. Audrey weighed in at 6 pounds 7 ounces. Both mother and daughter are doing fine. Below is a photo of the happy Ferguson family:
Audrey, Katie, Chelsey, and Ryan Ferguson
But this blog entry would be woefully incomplete without a photo of the proud Grandma, my sister, Karen McGarvey:
Congratulations! Now to update the Mullen Family Tree ...
Congratulations to Avril and Tony Leary on the birth of their first child, Charlotte. The Mullen Family Tree grows ever larger! Below is an excerpt from an email written by Avril a few days after Charlotte's arrival:
Just a very quick note to let you know that our beautiful baby girl, Charlotte Mary Leary, arrived safely into the world on Friday, 25th June at 8.20am, weighing in at 6lbs 13oz. It was a bit of a traumatic entrance for her after 28 hours, but she made it eventually and is a happy and content little girl, who sleeps a lot so far anyhow!! She is so perfect and we are absolutely in awe of her! Thanks to you all for all the good wishes.
- Avril, Tony and Charlotte Leary
In the event that you need a refresher as to what "third cousin once removed" means, click on the diagram below.
And here's a shot of the happy Leary family:
Tony, Charlotte, and Avril Leary
Can't wait to see you guys again!!
Monday, May 31, 2010
Clearly, if Dave was at the lake he would have been all over that bonfire . So where the hell was he? I soon found out.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
[Left to Right: Tom Clifton, Marilynn Mullen, Hannah Davies, Rory Macqueen, Scarlet Shore, Eli Davies]
The food was pretty good but the conversation was even better. As expected when dealing with the anyone from the Davies family (and, apparently, any of their friends as well), the conversation was all over the map. In about 3 hours we covered the political landscape (English and US), music (The Smiths, karaoke), geography ("You don't know the capitol of Sudan?"), religion ("What's up with the Pope?", lapsed Catholicism vs. lapsed Lutheranism) and books ("You wouldn't believe the crazy stack of books next to Hannah's bed!") Tons of fun that went by in a flash.
After brunch, we all went our separate ways. The Davies Sisters, incongruously, went for a pedicure. I'm not sure where Rory, Tom and Scarlet ended up, but Marilynn and I took the opportunity to stroll around NYU, Washington Square, and Greenwich Village for an hour or two. Washington Square was jammed with people enjoying the afternoon sun and listening to the buskers. Below is a photo of a group called "The Baby Soda Jazz Band" that had a large number of people crowded around them:
In the southwest corner of the park, a number of chess boards had been set up and virtually all of them were in use. Marilynn and I stopped for a while to watch a little girl compete against a guy who we think was a member of the NY Chess Club:
All in all a beautiful day --- New York City at its best!!
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
And to all of you who don't speak Irish, "Happy St. Patrick's Day!"
To commemorate the day, here's a brief and undoubtedly incomplete summary of some of the more noteworthy events in the extended Mullen Family since last St. Patty's day.
First and foremost (at least from my vantage point), Marilynn and I were extremely fortunate to be able to spend over a week in England last August, allowing us to become better acquainted with the following UK-based relatives:
- Brian Fowler
- Dympna [Messenger] LeRasle
- Peter LeRasle
- Máire Davies
- John Davies
- Huw Davies
- Hannah Davies
- Tom Davies
- Elinore Davies
- Patrick Mills
- Kathleen Duffy
- Susan [Fowler] Harrison
- John Harrison
- Betty Cahalin
- Avril [Gilmartin] Leary
- Tony Leary
- Madge Messenger
- Sheila [Messenger] Dore
- Martin Dore
- Rosalind Dore
- Joseph Dore,
- Imelda Messenger
- Anne [Naughton]Lillis
- Ashling Lillis
- Cliona [Lillis] Beadle
It was a whirlwind vacation, to be sure, but one of our first thoughts upon returning to the U.S. was, "When can we go back??"
- Herbie Hucklebury Timothy Peter Frankel was born on September 7, 2009 to Madeleine LeRasle and Tim Frankel.
- Edward (Ted) Beadle was born to Cliona [Lillis] Beadle and Mike Beadle.
- Matthew Beeney was born to Grainne [Lillis] Beeney and Rob Beeney.
- Harry Sears (husband of Patricia [Mullen] Sears passed away on February 20, 2010.
- Mary Josephine (Josie) Mullen, mother of Noel Mullen, passed away on January 25, 2010.
Marriages / Engagements:
- Mike McGarvey married Sarah Rector on August 28, 2009
- Avril Gilmartin married Tony Leary on September 26, 2009
- Janet Mullen announced the engagement of her daughter, Cara, to Christopher Kirkwood
- John and Máire Davies' celebrated their 40th Wedding Anniversary on October 4, 2009.
- Avril [Gilmartin] Leary and Tony Leary are expecting their first child.
- Katie [McGarvey] Ferguson and Ryan Ferguson are expecting their second child.
- Eli Davies and Rory MacQueen visited the U.S. in late October.
- The Sears family took Harry Sears, a longtime fan of the Fighting Irish, to his first Notre Dame football game on October 31, 2009.
- John and Máire Davies came to the U.S. in December to visit their daughter, Hannah, during the Christmas holidays.
- Sheila and Martin Dore came visited New York City for 5 days to celebrate Sheila's 60th birthday.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Annie Mullen Patrick, Harry Sears, Mary Mullen Kinslow
Uncle Harry lived a good, long life and was loved by everyone he touched. He will be missed and remembered by all of us and, at the end of the day, what more can you ask from life?
By: Doylestown Intelligencer
Harry C. Sears, father of six, passed away Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010, after several months of battling cancer. He persevered for more than a decade with Parkinson's disease as well. He was 81.
He was the beloved husband of Patricia Mullen Sears. He was the best father to Timothy Sears (Lisa), Colleen Kada (Steve), Sharon Slusarski (Mark), Patrick Sears, Shawn Peikin (Doug), and Daniel Sears (Donna). He was the awesome Pop Pop of Taralyn, Kerriann, Shaun, Brendan, Dennis, Riley, Cassidy, Jade, Madelyn, Zachary, Christopher and Jake. He is also survived by his sister, Frances Lorraine Cerritelli. He was preceded in death by his grandson, Dennis, and his sister, Anne Curry.
Harry C. Sears was born on Sept. 14, 1928, to Francis J. and Florence Sears of Philadelphia. Because of Harry's Christening, his father switched work days with a co-worker. Francis was employed by the federal government as a U.S. Treasury agent during the prohibition years. On October 28, the day that Francis worked for his co-worker, he was killed in one of Philadelphia's most publicized fires at Publicker's Alcohol Plant.
Harry attended LaSalle College High School on scholarship and graduated in 1946. He was a lettered member of their legendary crew team which rowed out of Vesper Club on Boathouse Row.
Harry was a devoted son to Florence Sears who died in 1983. He lived with Florence until he met and married Patricia Mullen, "the most beautiful woman he ever saw," in 1956. They moved to Willow Grove in 1961 and immediately registered at St. John of the Cross Parish, where they and their six children were active members.
After college he began his construction career with a small survey company. On his first day, his co-workers had a good laugh when he showed up at the muddy job site meticulously dressed in a suit and tie. In less than two years he progressed to the position of lead surveyor. During the post-war construction boom he worked in the development and expansion of the Philadelphia and surrounding suburbs infrastructure.
Harry's intellect and affinity for mathematics made him an ideal construction estimator. On July 3, 1961, he began his career at James D. Morrisey, Inc. Harry secured for JDM some of the largest private contracts in the Delaware and Lehigh Valleys. Some of his clients were PECO, United Parcel Service (at the Philadelphia airport), Bethlehem Steel, and Mack Truck. His work also at times included public road contracts including major highways throughout the Philadelphia area. While in his 50's Harry taught himself computer programming to automate much of the estimating process. He led and trained many newly minted engineers from local universities while at JDM.
During the mid 1960s, he became a member of Willow Manor Players, a local theater group. He began as a member of the chorus and progressed to lead comedy roles. His all time favorite was the part of "Moonface Martin" in Anything Goes. All who remember seeing him recall his rendition of "Be Like the Bluebird" which he would perform on command for years to come for the delight of his family and friends. He also served as business manager and president for the theater group.
Harry was involved in the cultural phase of CYO at St. John of the Cross Parish in the 1960s, working with high school students while his own children were still in grade school. Using his expertise with the theater group he directed One Act Plays with the teenagers, winning first place in the Philadelphia area in his second year of directing. He also directed several variety shows so all interested teenagers could participate. In the 90s he and Pat filled in as bit players in shows on Ocean City's Music Pier where their granddaughter, Kerriann Kada, had leading roles.
In the 70s, Harry and his wife, Pat, were in leadership in Marriage Encounter in the Eastern Montgomery County area. They were Team Members on many Marriage Encounter Weekends, sharing their relationship with other couples.
Harry and Pat also became involved with the Charismatic Renewal in the Catholic Church. They led the "Life in the Spirit Seminars" for several years and Harry taught many times. Many remember his teaching on True Humility which Harry's life exemplified.
Harry had numerous talents and interests. He loved to dance and especially loved the Mummer's Strut, line dances, and the jitterbug. Whether it was sketching, cooking, concrete work, playing the guitar and piano, acting, photography, carpentry (he built most of the family home), upholstery or comedy, Harry pursued his interests with a patient, persistent, and relaxed style.
Whether performing his Mummer's Strut or sitting at Sunny Willow Swim Club or the beach in Ocean City, N.J., or at a restaurant, Harry was always very close to his immediate family as well as his and Pat's extended families. Harry was much more concerned with others than himself. His family never wanted for anything and lived a very comfortable existence.
Despite his very busy life, Saturday afternoons in autumn belonged to Notre Dame. He usually sat on the floor watching TV, mesmerized by the game, oblivious to the confusion that surrounded him especially while the children were little. In October of 2009 his children took him to Notre Dame to watch the "Fighting Irish." Harry could never put into words his appreciation for this trip especially since he was on the field with the players as a guest of the coach.
Harry's family and friends will remember him by his countless stories which embody his warmth, kindness, intellect, love, caring and probably most of all his sense of humor. Many will never forget his "Martha, the Wide Mouthed Frog" story. To know Harry was to love and admire him. He commanded the respect of all who knew him. In the words of his wife, Pat, "He is truly the finest person I have ever known. I am truly blessed to have been loved by him for 56 years."
His funeral Mass will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, at St. John of the Cross Church, 2741 Woodland Road (at Thomson Road), Roslyn, PA 19001. Interment will be in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. Relatives and friends are invited to his viewing at William R. May Funeral Home, 354 N. Easton Road (at Keswick Ave.), Glenside, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday and to his viewing at the church at 10 a.m. Thursday.
Donations to LaSalle College High School Fatherless Son Fund, 9605 Cheltenham Ave., Wyndmoor, PA 19038, or St. John of the Cross Church would be appreciated.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Marilynn and I had the pleasure of getting together with Sheila Dore (my fourth cousin!) and her husband, Martin, for dinner in New York City this past Tuesday. To properly celebrate her 60th birthday, Martin gave Sheila a 5-day trip to NYC. Nice present, Martin! Much better than giving her a new vacuum like some insensitive, unromantic husband might have done. The Dores arrived from the UK on Sunday, February 14, just in time to experience our latest (last?) snowstorm of the season. Sheila's niece, Hannah Davies, (who lives and works in NYC) made an "executive decision" and reserved a table for us at a great Mediterranean restaurant called The Barbounia on Park Avenue. The food was fantastic and the conversation even better. Below is an unfortunately grainy iPhone photograph of the group (minus Marilynn, who took the photo):
Happy Birthday, Sheila, with many more to come!
Saturday, February 13, 2010
The story starts almost 24 years ago, in April of 1986, when Marilynn and I purchased our house in Cranbury, NJ. Included with the purchase (by default) was a huge, virtually immovable, cast iron safe in the basement. This safe (shown below) is enormous, measuring 37"x35"x24" (HxWxD) and weighing somewhere around 800 pounds:
In truth, it wasn't an entirely worthless safe. It had a purpose, albeit one that its 19th century makers could not have envisioned. For about 15 years, it functioned as an incredibly sturdy TV stand for a black and white television hooked up to a Nintendo console. It also doubled as a storage chest for all of our kids' Warhammer armies. Sadly, it had lost most of it's glamour over the years, but don't we all?
- The lock on the safe was patented by a man name F.C. Goffin in March of 1854. Unfortunately, the patent number was not 1251 and the U.S. Patent Office search engine was abysmal. I literally had to inspect every single patent issued in the United States in March of 1854. It was as painstaking as it sounded, but, just before I was about to give up, I hit paydirt. Patent number 10660 provided me with a perfect description of the lock on my safe and how it worked. (Aside: I later learned that Google has a much better Patent search engine!)
- A "Salamander Safe" refers to a fireproof safe, so named because the salamander, according to myth, is supposed to be able to endure fire without harm.
- R.M. Patrick was a manufacturer of Defiance Salamander Safes at 192 Pearl Street in New York City.
Jeff then carefully chipped away about 50 pounds of concrete to expose the locking mechanisms.