What an over-worked topic. Well, maybe not. “Friends” on Facebook. The TV Show “Friends”. All the advice about friends:

“If you can count on one hand your true friends, count yourself lucky.”

“Friends help you move. Real friends help you move bodies.”

Or my favorite update to that one:

“Friends help you move. Real friends sit on the cot next to you in the cell, and say, “THAT was AWESOME!”.”

I have friends like that. Like Pete & Bill. I called up my friend Bill once to ask a favor (which involved a six-hour road trip and attempted car repairs in a pouring rain storm) and before I could even finish laying out the favor, he said yes, and was on his way to my house to start the trip.

I called up Pete once and asked if he wanted to hang out and watch some TV. Not only did Pete say yes, he came up with this awesome concert video on Netflix, knowing how much we both enjoy the blues.

Or like Al and Karen. Turns out that Mrs. Chester has some therapy that involves watching the TV show “Lost”. Al & Karen come over, sometimes we eat, and we watch a few episodes of Jack and Locke, Kate and Sawyer, Sayid and Jin and Sun hanging around in Hawaii. And it’s very cool for Mrs. Chester.

So I am very grateful for the friends. Bernie Taupin said it best, in “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters”:

I thank the Lord for people I have found.

Let me know about your friends.


Happy New Year 2012

To both of my faithful readers, I wish you a very Happy New Year 2012. I made a few commitments to keep in 2012, small stuff that can easily stay on track despite the craziness of my day-to-day Chesterness:

1. Read More – Mrs. Chester and I have taken to reading together at night. This involves me reading out loud, and her listening. We both like some of the same books, both want to read them, but for her, reading them herself is a bit taxing, so I do the out loud bits. Seems to be working.

2. Learn More – well, it goes with the reading. But I am also getting really good at typing “How do I” into Google followed by the next thing I want to learn, mostly about music technique. For example, “mic a guitar cabinet” or “get good tone on my electric guitar”.

3. Exercise More – so in 2011, I hit the gym about 2 – 3 days a week, sometimes less. In 2012, I will do more. And add exercises, like the sit-ups on the incline bench, with an 8 pound medicine ball. Goal = 30. Current = 25. Need more sit-ups, Chester!! Work those abs!

4. Ride More – Bought the Road King on April 30, 2011. Did not get but one ride in with my Motorcycle Community Group. This year, I will probably have more time (see the post marked Forest Clearing Ahead). And I am considering joining two local clubs – the HOG Chapter and the Christian Motorcycle Association (CMA) chapter. Built-in rides already laid out and scheduled. Just show up.

So how about you, dear faithful readers of All Things Chester? What are you two doing this year? Let me know in the comments.

I thank the Lord for the people I have found

While Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters
Sons of bankers, sons of lawyers
Turn around and say good morning to the night
For unless they see the sky, but they can’t and that is why
They know not if it’s dark outside or light

I thank the Lord for the people I have found
I thank the Lord for the people I have found
– “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters” – Elton John

I thank the Lord for the people I have found. Mrs. Chester is going through the roughest patch of her life right now, and the people I have found have been like family to us. Helping in every way possible.

So Thank YOU to the people I have found.


French Connection, again

Well, my son is coming home from France tomorrow. He spent 3 weeks in the south of France, vacationing with our French students we hosted last year, and their families. Apparently he had a great time visiting all the towns in south France, touring around and going to the beach near St. Tropez.

Not only is my son coming back, but he is bringing three young French countrymen with him – the two female students and a male friend of theirs. So we will have a full house for the next few weeks, brushing up on our French, eating really good food and hanging out with the young people. They will stay with us for a couple of weeks, then head to New York for a few days before returning to Aix-en-Provence.

I hope to go to France next year, or maybe the year after. I would really like to see the countryside, enjoy the wine, food and people of south France. Our friends from there are so nice, we just love having them come visit us for a bit this summer.

Maybe I can talk the girls into going for a ride on the Road King – who knows?

I miss my French girls!


I talked to our French girls recently. Well, one of them, anyway. She helped me with my French over a Facebook chat. My “petite filles Francais”, or my little French girls. Girls is a misnomer – they are really young women. I reiterated my standing invitation for them to come to the States again, and she said we could come visit her in France.

Defnitely going to work on that – the picture above is Aix-en-Provence, their town. Their highschool was taken over by the rioters a few weeks back during the riots over the retirement age rising to 62. The girls were not affected, just not allowed to go to school for a few days. Foreign exchange makes the world such a wonderful, smaller place.

Peace – Chester

Vive le France!

I need to figure out where the accent marks go, but BOY have I learned a lot about France over the last few days.

Maybe I should back up just a bit – sorry the blog is so out-of-date. Summer happened. I had tons a things to write about, and not one spare minute to capture it all – the oil spill in the Gulf, the local and national politics, the heat wave on the East Coast.

My little one, the 15 year old, asked if we could host a French foreign-exchange student for 3 weeks in the summer. Sure, we said. What could be so hard about that? A spare bed, a few meals and some showers… no problem.

Turns out, we ended up with two, because the Exchange Student organization was running short of host families. The idea is that motivated, English-speaking (to a good extent) French students get to come to experience the US by staying with an American family for 3 weeks.

Then my two girls decided they would move to the basement so the French students could have their rooms. Then the older, college-bound daughter decided she needed her room painted – right before the French students got here. So it was massive house-cleaning and painting, and landscaping, and you get the idea.

Well, the French students arrived last week – two of the lovliest, friendliest, smartest 16 year old French young ladies you could ever want to meet. They are from Aix-en-Provence (which I can pronounce, now) which is in the south of France, near Marseilles. They are absolutely charming.

My kids get along with them really well. They watch movies, catch up with their folks and friends in France over the internet, help us shop, cook, clean up, make French food, teach us French words, and in general just have us all really enjoying the summer.

I thought the English were civilized until I met the French. No wonder the English (and other groups) pretend not to like the French. Turns out, they’re all jealous. If these girls are anything like the rest of the French, everyone needs to go to France, apologize and then spend some money enjoying the finest manners, culture, food and art the world has to provide.

I am going to France at the next opportunity. And it just so happens that I know some really cool people who live in the south of France, really close to the Med, near the nicest beaches in the world. Vive le France!