Views of the Monkeynut

by   Peter R. Lloyd-Davies

Europe 1997 New Hampshire 1998 On Kittens and Cuckoos 2003
Disney 2000 New Hampshire 1999 On the Theater 2004
Europe 2000 New Hampshire 2000 My Uncle Edward 2005
Southwest 2001 Seattle 2000 My War Journal 2006
Cape Cod 2002 New Hampshire 2001 The Current Unpleasantness 2007
Opila reunion 2002 Seattle 2002 2008
Christmas 2002 New Hampshire 2003
Honk! - February 2003 Toni in Alaska, July 2008
Memorial Day 2003 The Geezers ride again, 2009
July 4 2003
Maine, August 2003
Lake Winnipesauke, 2004
Russell is 90, Sept 2004
Europe, August 2005
A mighty wind, 2006
Turkey, 2007
Xmas 2007 pictures
Mike's graduation, June 2008

Views of the Monkeynut presents a vivid multimedia adventure unfolding the splendor of the Lloyd-Davies and Lynch atomic family, featuring, as the nucleus, Peter and Louise; as the electrons, Madeleine and Toni, along with their perky pets, Volt and Tillie. Discover the agonies and ecstacies of their latest travels, or study the history of their adventures from conception to the present through a vast archive of photographs, scientific facts, questionable rumor, text, graphics and videos.





New from the Monkeynut, Winter 2009 - The economy blows cold upon us and some of that cold has seeped into our house. As the stock market sank and the gas bills got higher (over $1,000 for gas and electric in January), I went out and got new programmable thermostats for the house. The old ones were programmable too, but one of them had conveniently stuck in high energy mode, so we were comfortable but poor. We wanted to be uncomfortable but to have enough money to pay tuition for our two daughters for the next couple of years. So now the temperature in the house reliably plummets to 62 degrees during the off-hours, which is when I am home and trying to work. I wear sweaters and a hat, but it's just not enough. When I am waxing political, I cry out for higher taxes on imported oil get us off the Arab tit and to provide incentives for the development of alternative energy sources. Otherwise, I pray for hundreds of supertankers to speed over from Saudi Arabia to drive energy prices down so I can relax and be warm.

On the happier side, Madison Associates has been booming along so far this year - we are in the process of rolling out a new version of our commercial mortgage application and we have just signed up two new clients. Not very interesting for the rest of you, but thrilling for me.

I had a most pleasant surprise in January - I received a visit from an old friend, Jeremy Gaskell and his wife Nina. Jeremy and I began at the boarding house at Merchant Taylors School in 1956. There were less than 20 of us in our class at the boarding house and so we all knew each other very well, but I had lost touch with all but one of them. (That one was Robert Macara - he and I were good friends throughout high school and kept in touch ever since until his death last year from cancer.) Jeremy had tracked me down on Friends Reunited, a British social networking site, and mentioned to me in an email that he and Nina were traveling all over the world and would be coming perilously close to New York. We arranged, then, for them to come up to Larchmont for a visit and, sure enough, at the appointed hour, they showed up on our doorstep. I don't think either of us would have recognized the other if we had passed on the street, but we had years of experiences in common and so we soon started "Do you remember when ..." and "Whatever happened to ..." This kept us gabbing for hours and I found it remarkable that I felt so much of a bond with someone from such a distant past.
On the sadder side, our sweet cat Volt has been having health problems. He started sneezing all the time and losing weight alarmingly. The vet pronounced that he had a tumor, probably benign, pressing against his thyroid and speeding up his metabolism. The only cure is to eliminate the tumor, which can be done by surgery. There is also a seemingly more exotic option: blast it with radiation. There is a company called RadioCat (great name! I see Volt in an army tent, banging out Morse code) that specializes in this procedure - they inject some radioactive iodine in his neck and it migrates to the thyroid where it zaps the tumor. We took Volt in earlier this week and he is spending a week at their facility until he becomes less radioactive. After that, he can come home, but he will remain slighly radioactive for another week, so we should be cautious about snuggling with him. And I suppose there's always the danger that he will have acquired superpowers and destroy all of Larchmont, but that is a risk we are prepared to take.

New from the Monkeynut, Spring 2009 - The school year is about over - Madeleine has moved out of her digs at Barnard and is back on the family ranch. Toni is still attending school, but her classes are mostly frees or the teacher shows a movie to the class. Tough life! She has taken all her AP exams, so she is basically through with high school.

She has also made her decision on attending college. The two finalist schools were Rice and Pomona - both excellent schools, although both a long way from home. Louise and Toni visited them both and then Louise and I sent whining emails to both schools telling them how much Toni would love to go there, but how poor we are and how much financial aid we need. Fortunately, they both came back with financial support, so Toni was able to decide based on other key factors (proximity to late night fast-food, percentage of student body sporting body-piercings, etc.) I tried not to exert undue influence, but I did smile benignly whenever Rice was mentioned. I also tried not to let the fact that Rice came through with the better package of financial aid be the only consideration, although this was very much on my mind. In truth, Toni couldn't make a wrong decision, but in the privacy of the Internet, I'll admit that I think that Rice is the better school.

New from the Monkeynut, June 2009 - The school yearbook is out and all the awards, joke and otherwise, are awarded. I was delighted to find that Toni had won "Most Likely to Succeed" until I realized that it was a typo and should have said "Most Likely to Secede" - then I was heartbroken when I realized that I would never see her north of the Mason-Dixon line again.

On June 12 was the senior prom - here is Toni with her date, Andrew Katzenstein.

Most likely to secede Toni with Andrew Katzenstein

And on June 23, finally, the main event - graduation! The entire month has been unbelieveably chilly and soggy - definitely one for the record books. Therefore, as graduation approached, the prospect of it being held indoors loomed ever larger. And yet, on the morning of the 23rd, the sun came out and it gave every appearance of being a beautiful day. The whisper went around - the Tigers have God's ear!

Alas, God was merely toying with us! As we hiked on down to the athletic field, the clouds rolled in. The students filed in at 6 p.m. and by 6:15, the rain was coming down and the headmaster was already desperately joking about this being just a passing shower. First, there was a performance of a lovely Dvorak string quartet by Eddie and friends, which we couldn't hear because of all the people around us complaining about the rain. Then there was the usual lengthy parade of speakers; ironically, they were all interesting and worth listening to and we all wished that the speakers would shut up and sit down. Andrew Katzenstein, in particular, gave a lovely riff about dreaming which we could barely hear. I kept thinking - surely they aren't going to keep going! This is madness! And indeed a couple of speakers started out by saying that they were going to spare us and post their complete address on the web, but, while they were here, they'd still like to make the following lengthy remarks...

When it came time for the students to file past one by one to get their diplomas, I thought they'd stop the madness for sure. But instead, the clouds parted, the rain stopped and the whole bunch of highly saturated students filed across the stage while the sodden masses of family and friends applauded enthusiastically. So, was it so bad? Well, yes, but I did feel happy and exhilarated at the end to see Toni get a hug from Dr. Orfinger and perhaps the miserable circumstances will stamp the event even more indelibly in our memories.


New from the Monkeynut, Fall 2009 - My fall hiking trip this year was to Wyoming, where the Geezers assembled to hike in the Grand Teton National Park. Bobby had made all the arrangements, for permits, reservations at camping zones and so on. The remaining geezers showed up a few days before the beginning of the hike in order to get used to the altitude. The hike itself was amazing - up Cascade Canyon, past the highest peaks, including the Grand, and then north up to Lake Solitude. The only drawback was that we had lots of company on the trail, but nothing could detract from the majesty of the scenery in the high country. We initially had planned to continue over Paintbrush divide and make a loop, but too heavy packs and too much puffing persuaded us to return the way we had come. Thanks, Bobby, for organizing such a memorable hike! More pictures here.

The Geezers - Ron, Bobby, Laura, Joe Jack, me (in front) Looking up Cascade Canyon from Jenny Lake
The Tetons in winter

New from the Monkeynut, November 2009 - My birthday. This year, I decided to celebrate it in verse.

I woke up this morning with a terrible warning Ė
The basement was flooded and wetted and mudded.
And then I saw herds of what looked like turds
Rampaging around everywhere to be found.
Alas! What a bummer! We called for a plumber
To fix up the sewer line, which he did in the nick of time.
So far my birthday has not been a mirthday,
But Iíll have a good time if I donít gotta rhyme.

New from the Monkeynut, Christmas 2009 - Not much to report. The girls were both home and we spent a quiet Christmas at home.

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