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The end of another chapter in this Traveler’s journey 1

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As the New Jersey chapter in the life of this traveler comes to a close as I divest myself of the last tangible asset that has held me to New Jersey as I close up the house at 704 Puritan Ave and hand it over to a new owner.  My daughter Avery grew up in this house; we watched her grow into the beautiful person she is now.  This house has seen many friends and family pass through to enjoy good times and bad. It was the center of the Bilancio family holiday dinners for 12 plus years, and in the summer it was the epicenter of some great summer blasts.

The chapter of my life in New Jersey started as an adventure story that had drama, humor and a little mystery thrown in.  It had births, and it had too many deaths of family and too many close friends, it had lost friendships of people I thought were my friends as well as loss of my real friends that moved on to bigger and better things.  At the beginning of the adventure I saw myself living and dying in New Jersey, but like most stories, there are sudden changes in the flow, and the protagonist finds a new path to follow and explore and to see what is going to happen with every turn of the page.

This article isn’t just about the closing and selling of a house but the end of a chapter in a story that we hope goes on for way more time, and it’s a good time to think and reflect on what has happened and to look forward to future adventures.

In the summer of 1990 when I moved back to New Jersey chasing a job offer, I remember how good it felt to be back with my cousins and the family I spent most of my life with and is where I grew up and had so many happy times as a kid.  We were so young and crazy when I came back, and I had watched and studied how much we have all grown and matured in the passing years. Most of us have been or are still married with children, and it’s incredible how much the children have developed or are growing into fine adults.

The few friends that I made in New Jersey and still communicate with have also moved on from the party life we all enjoyed in the backyard of 704 Puritan.  I have watched their kids growing up, and they are becoming young adults moving into their own. I have also watched as a few of my friends had moved on from the wives or husbands that they had when we first met and started hanging out, some for the better and some not so much.

My being and life force will always flow through New Jersey, as my daughter is still there as well as most of my cousins, aunts and uncle and the few friends I still have there.  The second anchor that holds me to New Jersey will be the graves of the matriarch and patriarch of the Bilancio family Rose and Louis Bilancio.

Like all stories of the traveler in the stories seem to flow and ebb, this traveler’s tale will continue as I move through the universe with new companions to far off lands and states and adventures, but my line of cosmic energy and my story will always flow through Central New Jersey.


Happy 25th Birthday Avery 1

This is the second birthday letter I have written to Avery…hope you all enjoy her birthday as much as she does this year

Dear Avery,

Today is your 25th birthday!  Where has the time gone? Here are some facts for you to think about on your birthday.  I was 25 when you were born, your grandfather was 50 (he was 25 when I was born), you have lived a quarter of a century, I have lived half a century and your grandfather has lived three-quarters of a century.

I look back on these last 25 years and have many things I regret that I did or didn’t do within your life. But it has been an interesting 25 years watching you grow and mature and becoming the woman you are; from the day you were born sleeping in the nursery at the old Princeton hospital as just a little baby new to this world, then I blinked and you were five running around the apartment on Brunswick Ave and going to school at Columbus Elementary School, then blink and you were in middle school behind 90 Eggerts Crossing and then blink again,  you were a senior in high school and then you were driving with a job to go to. Then all of a sudden I watched you get your college diploma last year. In between all that you were doing dancing and I was always so proud of you every time you were on that stage and each and every time I got choked up because you were growing up just to fast for this dad.

I love you Avery and I am so happy that you were put into my life 25 years ago and from one Bilancio to another, you are doing a great job being a great Bilancio and a great person.

Love,

Dad


What happened to the written letter 7

IMG_20180227_100126In the process of cleaning out my house, I came across a shoe box full of old letters that I had received from friends and family, and it got me thinking about actually sitting down and writing a letter.

While I was growing up, I would stay at my grandparents for a lot of overnight visits.  The early riser that my grandfather was, he would go downstairs to either make fresh bread, do research or to sit at the kitchen table to write letters to the family and friends.  He almost always woke me up on his walk to the kitchen so I would sit on the stairs and watch him write his letters.  Depending on who he was writing too he might have had some research that was going to be used to make his point all laid out on the table around him. Or a pile of news clippings he was going to send with the letter, I was always fascinated with his letter writing, so much so that I use to love writing letters.

His habit of letter writing rubbed off on me, and as I grew up, I became an avid letter writer.  When I became a teenager and moved to Bath, my letter writing became more prevalent, I would write to my friends in Fallsington or girls who went to the lake for the summer or off to college, or to friends of the family and of course family. I enjoyed putting thoughts and questions down on paper; it made things more personal between who I was writing to.  Dropping the letter into the mailbox and then the anticipation building of getting a letter back with I hoped the answers to the questions I had asked and then finding out what was going on in the person’s life.

How wonderful it is to be able to write someone a letter! To feel like conveying your thoughts to a person, to sit at your desk and pick up a pen, to put your thoughts into words like this is truly marvelous.”

 Haruki Murakami

The anticipation of having to wait for the next letter over at least a ten-day period (delivery to, writing back, delivery from).  The personalization of holding the piece of paper(s) that always made letter writing fun, compared to writing an email today, which always seems so impersonal to me.

It’s the impersonalization in today’s world of instant gratification that has replaced the written letter with social media, instant messaging, Snap Chat, Twitter, and email.  All of which typed quickly and in most cases short and just 140 characters max.

Gone are the days of taking the time to find the perfect pen to put word to paper, going out and selecting the perfectly weighted and colored paper to write your correspondence. To put that special pen to the hand-picked paper is what makes the letter a personal, heartfelt conversation between the recipients.  Don’t think I am still writing letters because I’m not; I can’t think of the last time I have put pen to paper and written a letter to anyone myself.

In my life, I have been trying to get away from the instant gratification communications of today and moving back to putting pen to paper for those communications that I would like to grow and build between friends and family.  Getting that feeling of really talking with people in a form that is more personal and more caring and loving.

My call to you all is dust off those old address books, find a piece of paper and a pen and write a letter….most people have a real physical address, not just an email address.


Writing issues 3

4487159833_2207b1dfa3_bWhen I was growing up my mother made me do creative writing all through summer vacation as well as writing journals on all our vacations while traveling, and that made writing for me a lot less fun, because it was more of a chore for a kid of 8 through 12, so I ended up fighting having to write anything for most of my early life in and out of school. Once I got out of school, and I moved on in my adult life, I started writing the odd story and article for the family newspaper here or there, but it just wasn’t that fun for me still.  In 2000 I started William’s Thoughts and Ideas, to be a site for me to put my day to day happenings on the web like the bofhcam journal, but that didn’t last too long since I got busy at work and totally forgot to write any entries for the day, week, month.  After looking at what I was writing when I did do a post I didn’t think my audience would really read it because it was just not exiting being a System Administrator at a civil engineering firm, so the site became more of a hey this is happening in my life or a look into my life as a kid and growing up, or a review of one thing or another and the yearly Christmas List, but there became times where I didn’t write much at all, I have gone for over six months to a year with out anything being written or posted.

Writing posts use to be pretty easy for me at the beginning of all this and looking back at those posts from about 2000 to 2012 I can see why..I never really said much in the way of substance, and my spelling and grammar were soooo bad, but in the past two or so years, it’s been tougher for me to write meaningful posts.  It’s not that I don’t have topics I want to write about, I have a huge list, and a few posts started, that I just can’t bring to a close, it’s just been hard for me to get my thoughts down on “paper”.  I don’t know if it’s because I am trying to be a better writer or because I get more distracted and less focused when I want to write or just not to have the will to write at all?

Getting distracted and not being focused is one of the issues when writing that happens and I know one thing I need to do is to find a better place and better way to write.  When I try to write in the living room with the television on I get caught up with what’s on and don’t write at all.  If I am at the Soul Full Cup, I am good till people start coming in to hang out and then I just put the computer away to chat and then seem to lose the will to pick up the writing again when everyone leaves.  I am also wondering if part of it is my work schedule now, working midnight to 9 am supposedly can mess up your rhythms and focus escpcially if you aren’t getting a good 6 to 8 hours sleep during the day.  Also with my job, working on the computer all the time, it’s tough for me to want to work on one to write on my non-work hours/days.

Writing about my family is one of the easiest kind of writing for me because it’s something I can pull right out of my head and memories and get it down on the page, but is this something other than my family want to read?  Same goes for the technical writings, and the reviews are these of any interest to anyone to read but me? It’s tough to know who is reading and what is being liked from my point of view.  Are people coming to my site at all or are they staying on Facebook and other social media sites and just clicking the Like button or skipping the writing altogether and scrolling by?  These questions also make writing difficult for me, because if no one is reading this stuff what’s the point.  I tell myself that I am not doing this to make money or to be famous (because I’m not),  I am doing this to have my life documented for future generations of my family to read and know about me and my part of the Bilancio family, but in the now, it’s for those of you who know me understand what’s going on and what I am doing in a fun way as well as imparting some knowledge to them.

Why did I write this and make a post out of it?  The take away from this post was to identify what my problems are with my writing and to get my mind back into a place that I hope will get a more even flow of posts posted and better writing.


Q-SKY Radio – No Static at All 1

I am looking for a few “friends” or if you were part of WVIN back in the late 80’s or at WCEB during the 1986 -1987 semesters and would like to help out and get on the air and have some fun.

Do you have a topic you want to talk about or a genre of music you want to get others hearing, or maybe go live with a podcast you are involved with then reach out to me at wbilancio@qskyradio.com.

I would prefer people in the Corning area to start with, but am open to others in other locations if you have a good idea for a show.

The format of Q-SKY is going to be a mix of talk and freeform music radio, but we will have to follow the DCMA rules for streaming radio stations to stay legal. All rules and broadcast information will be explained if you are interested in doing a show. This is all voluntary and not a paying gig so don’t quit your day job to do this.

I just ask that anyone interested be willing to give me at least six months of shows and not flake out on me and just disappear. I want to get a very robust and fun schedule and get some listeners other than our parents and relatives. 🙂

I want to start broadcasting Q-SKY Radio in the first part of the new year to get things set up and get some ideas fleshed out.


The final leg of a trip to 50 1

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Today marks the beginning of the 30-day countdown till I move into the second half of my life. I turn 50 in just a short 30 days; it’s been an interesting 49 years so far. I have had many careers and many journeys down many roads, some of them the wrong one, but I managed to get off those and back onto the right one without getting into to much trouble, but without those wrong roads, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

I am going to try to post on this very website as much as I can about the first 50 years…well as many of those early ones as best as I can, but I know that from at least the age of 5 to now I should do pretty good. Some of the posts will be reruns of stuff I have already written, but there will be new stuff as much as I can get done with life and work getting in the way.

So have fun reading and enjoying them when you can.


Today in Bilancio History 1

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Photos by William Bilancio

On March 11th, 1993 – 24 years ago at this time I was sitting in the hospital with Carolyn waiting for the birth of our child (we didn’t know the sex of the baby yet) at the original Princeton Hospital in Princeton NJ.

For us, the day started around 3 am* with Carolyn waking me up to tell me her water broke and that the baby was going to be arriving a lot earlier than we expected.  We had just finished the Lamaze class two nights before and gotten the tour of the hospital, so we were ready for this, we both figured we would have a bouncing baby something by lunch…..  We called the doctor, and he told us not to head to the hospital till 7 am if the labor pains were still far apart. Forget going back to sleep at this point, so I started to wandering around the 70 Cleveland Lane house and came across my godmother taking care of her dog who wasn’t doing well that night, the look of surprise on her face when I told her that Carolyn’s water had broken and we would be having the baby today.

We headed to the hospital at 7 am and were admitted in our private birthing room by 7:30 am and the wait started.  By 11 am we realized that this little bundle of joy wasn’t going to be coming out anytime soon, the day wore on, and we went trough two shifts of nurses and doctors.  Carolyn’s doctor had been stopping by throughout the day to check on her and see her progress.  Around 7 pm he informed us it was getting close to time and be ready to start pushing and breathing.  So the nurses started prepping Carolyn for the final parts of birthing a baby and then the journey started.  After about an hour and 45 min of screaming and pushing and breathing out came a cute, small bundle of girl on March 11, 1993, @ 8:45 pm in time for us to watch Cheers.  Avery was rushed off to the nursery and Carolyn was taken care of and moved to her room.  I headed to the nursery, and there was my godmother looking at the baby through the window, and she turned to me and said she is beautiful and is going to be a great person and do great things…..

All through the day, we kept talking about a name, and we still hadn’t come up with a name at this point, so we decided to take the night and the next day to come up with a name.  It came down to Avery because we both loved the show Murph Brown and she had named her TV baby Avery, and it stuck with us…so Avery it was.

That day was one of the most special days for me, and I am so proud of my daughter who has turned into such a wonderful woman who is just starting on the journey of her adult life and is going to do great things, just like my godmother said.

To celebrate this great night after I left the hospital, I headed to Hoagie Haven and got myself two large cheese steaks with everything one for dinner and one for breakfast.  So today I am going to be on the hunt for a decent cheese steak in the Corning area to celebrate my daughters birthday!

Happy Birthday, Avery…I love and miss you so much!

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Photos by William Bilancio

  • All times are an approximation except for the birth time. (Hey it’s been 24 years and I didn’t take any notes during the day 🙂 )

The Bilancio Purple Turkey 1

A lot of people on Facebook have asked what a purple turkey is. It’s a turkey that marinades in wine for 5 to 7 days before cooking. So when it comes out of the marinade, it’s purple.

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So you all can enjoy a great tasting turkey here is the recipe for the marinade for a 12-pound turkey and instructions:

3 cups dry red wine
2 ½ cups chopped onion
2 cloves of garlic minced
5 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf

For a good dry red wine to use I recommend a good jug wine. I use Carlo Rossi Paisano wine, but lately, I have also used Charles Shaw Chardonnay from Trader Joe’s.

If your turkey is larger than 12 pounds add more wine and garlic and bay leaves and if your turkey is defrosted it won‘t have to marinate the full 7 days, but I usually just put it in frozen and let it defrost in the bowl as it marinades.

Put the turkey breast down into a clean unscented garbage bag and then put bag and turkey in a big bowl. Pour all the ingredients into the bag and tie bag as tight and close to the bird less air in the bag the better. Every 24 hours turn the turkey so it marinades evenly. When you are ready to cook the turkey remove it from the marinade and bag, then drain out the turkey and pat it dry inside and out, then put in a roaster pan and let it sit and warm up about 30 min before roasting it.

Remember to remove the pack of giblets and turkey neck before cooking. Since I put the turkey in the marinade frozen I let them all marinate as well and then use them for the gravy with the drippings from the turkey giving it a great taste.

Throw out the marinade and bag since it’s had raw poultry in it and is contaminated now and shouldn’t be used for anything else.

Cook the turkey till it has an internal temperature of 163 degrees. I usually pull it out when it’s between 158 to 160 since it will keep cooking while it rests and will get to the internal temp of 163, this way it won’t overcook and get a little dry. When the turkey is taken out of the oven, it will be a dark golden brown and the meat will be moist and tasty. Let the turkey rest for 15 to 20 minutes before carving.


New project started for the eyes

Picture of the day, a 365 day project…what ever you call it I am going to make a go at it. Starting today October 1st 2016 this is the first picture of the next 365 days.  Check out 365.bilancio.org for my new photo project.

I am going to do a theme for the first month – signs and stickers of Market Street.   Each day a new image will be uploaded with a small something. Every image will be different; it may have been shot on the day or may have been picked out from my archives, but there will be a new picture a day for the next 365 days.

I hope you enjoy the pictures. If you have an idea for a “theme” send me a private message and let me know I am always looking for new photo ideas….please keep it clean.

I have been taking photographs since grade school, but not full time in the past few years. I have picked up the DSLR camera on and off and since the cell phone cameras have gotten better and better over the years the photos we are producing have gotten better.

Enjoy the photos and let me know what you think…..


So Long, and Thanks for All the Tomato Pies

I mentioned in a post last week that I have decided to move to Corning in the Southern Tier of New York.

When I moved back to New Jersey in the late summer of 1991 to the open arms of my father’s family that I had left back in 1983 when we moved to Bath, NY, I considered the move a rebirth. Now after 26 years and the last few which were a tumultuous time for me, I feel this move back to the Bath area is me rising from the ashes of my old life and with that rising I need to believe in myself and love myself to become the new person I want to become.

I will miss a ton of the people I have made my friends and done things with throughout my time in New Jersey. The parties we had in the back yard on all the major summer holidays are something that I will never forget. The get together at Panera, Uno’s and other great places. The one friend that I spent the most time with and who came to my aid when the basement flooded almost every time it did, I will miss you the most John. John Martinetti was always there when I asked for help and you were always willing to go out and have a good time at a moments notice. I will miss you dude.

As I am getting settled in my new life I look back at the things I have achieved while I was in New Jersey, I helped LUG/IP become a non-profit group, I started the System Administrator Group – LOPSA-NJ and put together the East Coast System Administrator Conference, set up the Nextdoor for Colonial Heights Civic Association and a few things I am sure I forgot about.

The biggest things I will miss from New Jersey are all the great places to eat Chinese & Italian foods, burgers (not fast food burgers) and the other types of food I love to eat. Since I have been in Corning I have been struggling to find a good Chinese restaurant that has good food, low prices and delivers. In New Jersey I couldn’t swing a dead cat without hitting a good non-chain Chinese restaurant that fit the above criteria’s. So far I have found so so Chinese, but I am still looking and I will find it.

But the one thing I am missing the most is a Trenton style tomato pie.

In Trenton, the “tomato pie” is king, a thin-crust, chewy round pizza whose most defining characteristic is the unusual placement of the tomato sauce: it’s on top.

Malcolm Bedell – FromAway.com

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Trenton Tomato Pie – From Away

This was the food I missed the most when I first came to New York in ’83 now it is again. I will find a pizza joint that will make a good tomato pie or teach one to make a great tomato pie or I will have to get that pizza oven attachment for my Weber Charcoal grill.

This isn’t really the final goodbye my friends and family in New Jersey, it’s just a break from me, and I hope to see you soon in New Jersey and I want you to know my door is always open if you want to come to Corning (I don’t have a room you can stay in, but there is a bunch of nice places to stay in the area) and help me find that great Chinese restaurant or a great tasting tomato pie, or we can also go on a few vineyards tours or brewery tours or just go out to the lake and have a good time.

So in closing to the state of New Jersey and my friends I say:

So Long, and Thanks for All the Tomato Pies